Israel's president surprises 'world's oldest journalist' at 99th birthday party

Walter Bingham, a Holocaust survivor who holds the Guinness World Record as the world's oldest journalist, was surprised at his home by President Isaac Herzog


It's not every day that a politician attends a journalist's birthday party, but on Tuesday morning, Israel's President Isaac Herzog did just that, visiting Holocaust survivor and veteran journalist Walter Bingham who turned 99 last week.

Mr Bingham, who holds two Guinness World Records for being the world's oldest working journalist and oldest radio host, had invited President Herzog to his party, but was surprised when he RSVPd to the event and showed up at his home with his security detail.

Born in 1924 in Germany, Mr Bingham witnessed the rise of the Nazis, and escaped to Britain on the Kindertransport. He then returned to Europe as an ambulance driver during the Normandy landings, later interrogating Nazi war criminal Joachim von Ribbentrop for the British Army.

After jobs such as cameo appearances in two Harry Potter films, working as Father Christmas at the Harrods and Selfridges Christmas grottoes in London, and even modelling for the international men's magazine Maxim, Mr Bingham made aliyah to Israel in 2004.

During the visit on Tuesday, Mr Bingham showed the President his WWII medals, the letter that came with his Military Medal from the father of the late Queen, King George VI, as well as his Légion d'honneur.

President Herzog told Mr Bingham: "Walter, you are a blessing. I am very proud to meet someone who fought the Nazis in World War Two in the British Army, just like my late father.

"It's a special honour for me to come here, because your generation, the generation of Jewish soldiers who fought in WWII, clearly saved the world!"

As a working journalist with a radio show and a Jerusalem Post column, Mr Bingham is a frequent visitor to the President's Residence in Jerusalem.

In his home studio, Mr Bingham showed the President his two Guinness World Records, certifying him as the world's oldest working journalist and oldest radio talk show host.

Mr Bingham had celebrated turning 95 by skydiving, and said that he hopes to add another Guinness World Record to his collection by becoming the oldest person to leap from an airplane at the age of 102 - for which President Herzog wished him luck.

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