Jerusalem – A Holocaust survivor nearing his 95th birthday who has already earned a spot in the record books as the world’s oldest talk show host has made history again, this time as Israel’s oldest skydiver.
The Times of Israel (http://bit.ly/2ysha1t) reported that Walter Bingham made the tandem jump last week from 13,000 feet in northern Israel with Hatzanchania. Bingham, who will be turning 95 in January, said that he had originally planned to do the jump for his 94th birthday, noting that he was always on the lookout for new opportunities.
“I look for crazy things,” said Bingham. “I’m a crazy guy.”
Prior to the jump, Bingham said that in addition to a sense of exhilaration, he expected the experience to have a spiritual element noting that “skydiving, without being in a capsule like an airplane, brings you very close to Hashem.”
Bingham made the nearly two and a half mile leap strapped to an instructor. The air, he said, was surprisingly warm.
“It was an extraordinary feeling of elation and suspense until the instructor pulled the cord,” said Bingham. “We went from flying horizontal to hanging vertical. The gentle descent gave ample opportunity to look at the scenery.”
Hatzanchania had team members waiting for Bingham and his instructor, softening his landing in a grassy field, a move he described as “a nice gesture to an old person.”
Having already taken the plunge once Bingham said he hopes to repeat the experience again for his hundredth birthday. The next adventure on his agenda could involve hot air ballooning or heading to the clouds once again, this time as a pilot. Bingham still holds an active pilot’s license and he described a 1968 flight to Israel as one of the most memorable moments in his life.
“I was afternoon and I saw the whole of Jerusalem,” said Bingham. “There was a red sun and it was truly Yerushalayim Shel Zahav. Tears started flowing down my face as I tried to steer the plane.”
Having attained the status of a nonagenarian in good health, Bingham has no intention of spending his golden years relaxing. A veteran actor who played the part of a wizard in two of the Harry Potter films, he is the host of Arutz Sheva’s Walter’s World weekly radio program where he has interviewed numerous internationally known personalities including Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Dudu Fisher, Alan Dershowitz and prominent members of the world of both politics and academia.
Bingham’s adventurous life as a senior citizen stands in stark contrast to his childhood in Germany where he was bullied and chased by his classmates and had his grades slashed by teachers who refused to allow a Jewish student to outperform his Aryan peers, as reported by The Jerusalem Post (http://bit.ly/2yrXZVd).
He escaped the Nazi regime on the Kindertransport to England, ultimately joining the British army, first as the driver of an amphibious land and water vehicle and then as an ambulance driver where he found himself surrounded by battles and bloodshed. Bingham’s heroism during the Battle of Normandy earned him a military medal for bravery and was awarded France’s highest honor, the Legion d’Honneur earlier this year.
Today, Bingham said that he attributes his longevity to his ability to keep moving and noted that Israel’s difficulties inspire him to continue persevering.