102-year-old Israeli receives kindergarten enrollment letter

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yosef Eshed, a 102-year-old Israeli who fought alongside the revered British soldier Orde Wingate to put down the 1936 Arab Revolt, can now register for kindergarten.

Eshed, of the village of Motza, near Jerusalem, apparently was one of 20 Israelis over a century old to receive a kindergarten enrollment letter recently, the Ynet news site reported.

“Are they crazy?” Eshed was quoted as asking, joking that he didn’t mind because “it’s been a few years since I’ve attended kindergarten, and that was in Poland.” He had emigrated from Poland 80 years ago.

Local officials are calling it a computer snafu. Ynet quoted a local official who blamed the confusion on a database program erasing the first digit of their ages.

Eshed was one of the founders of Kibbutz Hanita and fought in the Special Night Squads founded by Wingate, a Christian Zionist figure revered in Israel for his role in training prestate Jews in combat, when the Arabs of Mandatory Palestine rose up against British rule.

After the mistake was discovered, a local official told Ynet that “we would be honored to host him in our schools so he can tell children his amazing life story.”