Shlomo Sulayman, the oldest Israeli alive, passed away Sunday at age 117. He died with his family by his side and is survived by his six children and dozens of grandkids, great and great-great grandkids.
Shlomo immigrated from Yemen to Israel with his wife and four children in 1949. His two youngest children were born in Israel. He lived with his family in the central city of Netanya and after serving in the IDF, worked in agriculture.
His wife died several years ago at age 94 and since then Sulayman has lived on his own. Despite his solitude, his grandson Gil Radia said, he continued to live a modest life, going every day to synagogue and was considered an expert on Jewish scripture.
"His mind was clear until his last moment," Radia said. "People would come and ask him questions about the faith and do exactly as he told them after he looked over the texts."
Asked what was his secret to longevity was, Radia said that he did not eat much and was always physically active.
"He would eat small portions," his grandson said. "In the morning a piece of bread with cream cheese; for lunch either chicken, fish or and egg with rice; and in the evening a salad with an egg."
"He would walk great distances on foot, the same as when he was working," he added. "He would walk from Moshav Avihayil back to his home in Netanya, carrying a big sack of oranges on his back."
Over the past months, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sulayman was confined to his home.
"It did him harm," Radia said. "Until the pandemic, he would go to the synagogue, even at the age of 116. He was a very modest man, which is why everyone loved him. But I guess the isolation at home contributed to his health deteriorating.
"Grandpa loved life, and when someone argued with him, he would always try to convince them with niceties and good manners. We tried to wrap him in our love until his last days," he added.
According to his family, Sulayman was born in 1903, making him not only the oldest person in Israel, but among the oldest in the world.
The oldest verified person still alive is Japanese Kane Tanaka, who is aged 117 years and 283 days.
First published: 22:14, 10.11.20