Mariam Amash (Arabic: مريم عماش‎; Hebrew: מרים עמאש‎: 1 July 1888? – 22 December 2012) was an Arab-Israeli woman of Bedouin descent, who claimed to be the oldest person ever. She died 22 December 2012 at the claimed age of 124 years and 171 days[1].

According to her Ottoman Empire-issued birth certificate, Amash was born in the Ottoman Empire in 1888, near the town of Jisr az-Zarqa in northern Israel, where she lived most of her life[2]. The discovery that she may be the oldest person in the world came when she applied for an identity card from the Israeli government using that birth certificate. Israeli officials confirmed that she was listed in the Israeli population registry as having been born in 1 July 1888, although they were unsure if it is correct[3][4].

The Guinness Book of Records, the group who authorizes the "official" oldest living person record, have not yet validated (nor have they invalidated) her claim[5]. If Amash's birth date were verified, she would become the oldest person ever, surpassing Jeanne Calment.

In February 2008, Amash was reported as being "remarkably sprightly", with 10 children, 120 grandchildren, 250 great-grandchildren and 20–30 great-great-grandchildren. Amash said the key to longevity is a healthy diet abundant in vegetables. In particular, she attributed her own longevity to drinking olive oil every day, avoiding alcohol, and eating a local herb Palestinians often use in salads. She also stated that she expected to live "another ten years".

Amash had bad hearing and could only recall portions of the past at a time, making her difficult to interview. In a 2008 interview with Al Jazeera English, she recalled the Ottomans as being "nice", but disliked the British when they took over in 1917, and was satisfied with life in modern-day Israel, especially with her government-provided social security. A devout Muslim, she made the Hajj to Mecca five times.

In 2008 it was reported that her youngest son was 54. If her age claim were true, it would indicate that she gave birth to him at the age of 66.


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