Meet 18-year-old Georgi Krimantsky, who has received the title of tallest new immigrant (oleh) to Israel in the past decades - possibly the tallest ever - according to the Aliyah and Integration Ministry who told The Jerusalem Post they cannot remember any other immigrant who has been so tall.
Standing tall at a staggering 217 centimeters (7.119 feet), he has become a legend not only for his extraordinary height but also for his remarkable journey from Moscow, Russia, to the basketball courts of Be'er Sheva, Israel.
Born to a towering father measuring 208 centimeters and a statuesque mother at 195 centimeters, Krimantsky's incredible height seems destined from birth.
Last October, as part of an long-term program in Israel with the Masa Israel organization, he embarked on a journey that involved squeezing himself into an airplane seat for hours, ultimately landing in Israel's Moshav Nitsana.
Basketball in Be'er Sheva
The journey to Israel marked the beginning of Krimantsky's extraordinary story. It didn't take long for the keen-eyed scouts of the Be'er Sheva youth basketball team to spot his potential. They swiftly welcomed him into their ranks, where he now proudly represents them as the team's star center player.
Nowadays, Krimantsky shares an apartment in Be'er Sheva with six other players, all Israeli-born. Balancing his basketball commitments with his studies, Krimantsky began his final year of high school on September 1 as a 12th grader. The PELE Program, supported by the Aliyah and Integration Ministry, has been instrumental in helping him master the Hebrew language.
Krimantsky's dreams are as lofty as his stature. He shared with the Post that he aspires to complete his schooling as swiftly as possible and enlist in the army. There, he hopes to continue his basketball journey and earn recognition as an exceptional athlete. Alternatively, his passion for mechanics offers a promising career path.
However, living at such an extraordinary height does come with its unique challenges. Krimantsky must constantly maintain a heightened awareness of his surroundings to avoid unfortunate encounters with signs, window frames, and other obstacles. Nevertheless, he remains grateful for the doors his height has opened, especially in the world of basketball.
As he approaches his one-year anniversary in Israel, Krimantsky shared that he identifies strongly with his adopted country. He has wholeheartedly embraced Israeli culture, mastering favorite dishes like falafel, shawarma, and shakshuka.
Israeli songs and musicians have become an inseparable part of his life, further cementing his status as an integral member of the Israeli community.
While his towering stature may not necessarily aid him in graduation, Krimantsky is determined to succeed. For those curious about the size of our immigrant's shoe, it's an impressive 52 (16 in the US). As for his clothing size, well, some things are best left unsaid.
Adv. Avihai Kahana, director general of the Aliyah and Integration Ministry, expressed his delight at Krimantsky's arrival, as he commenced the school year alongside thousands of fellow immigrant children in Israel.
“The Ministry extends a warm welcome to Georgi and recognizes the undeniable value his extraordinary height brings to Israeli basketball. Georgi joins the ranks of 65,000 immigrants who have made Israel their home since Rosh Hashanah last year.”
He wished Krimantsky “continued success in realizing his remarkable potential,” and extended warm New Year wishes to him and all new immigrants to Israel.