Photographer David Rubinger remembered as Israel’s ‘greatest documenter’
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Photographer David Rubinger remembered as Israel’s ‘greatest documenter’

President, Knesset speaker praise iconic journalist after death at age 92; ‘some write pages of history, others illustrate them through a camera lens,‘ says Rivlin

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (R) with the late David Rubinger at an exhibition of the latter‘s photographs at the Knesset (Photo by Itzak Harari)
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (R) with the late David Rubinger at an exhibition of the latter‘s photographs at the Knesset (Photo by Itzak Harari)

President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday paid tribute to legendary Israeli photographer David Rubinger, whose pictures captured the Jewish state’s history, after his death Thursday morning at the age of 92.

“There are those who write the pages of history, and there are those who illustrate them through their camera’s lens,” Rivlin said.

“Through his photography, David eternalized history as it will be forever etched in our memories. His work will always be felt as it is seen in the eyes of the paratroopers as they looked upon the Western Wall, and in the expressions on the faces of the leaders of Israel, which he captured during the highest of highs and lowest of lows.”

Rubinger, who took pictures for Time magazine from 1954 to the 1980s, was known for publishing a number of iconic photographs, including one of paratroopers reaching the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City during the Six Day War in 1967 that is perhaps the country’s most famous moment.

The iconic Rubinger photo of the three paratroopers at the recaptured Western Wall in June 1967 (Courtesy Rubinger/Knesset Collection)
The iconic Rubinger photo of the three paratroopers at the recaptured Western Wall in June 1967 (Courtesy Rubinger/Knesset Collection)

He was the only photographer to gain access to the inner sanctum of the Knesset cafeteria, often permitted to capture Israel’s early leaders in their most private moments. He was the Knesset’s official photographer for 30 years, and the only photographer to have his work on permanent display in the Israeli parliament.

Rivlin said that on entering the President’s Office, he hung on the wall a picture Rubinger had taken of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.

“David [Rubinger] came to visit with a special signed copy and helped me hang it in its place, alongside a picture of [Zionist Revisionist leader Ze’ev] Jabotinsky, which has been with me throughout the years.

“I will continue to carry the image of David Rubinger with me, armed with his faithful camera,” he said.

An exhibition of the late David Rubinger's works at the Knesset. (Photo: Itzhak Harari)
An exhibition of the late David Rubinger’s works at the Knesset. (Itzhak Harari)

Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein eulogized Rubinger as “the greatest documenter of Israeliness.”

“He was always there to immortalize moments of glory and of war, the joy and the pain,” he said.

“For decades, he followed the Knesset closely and the Israeli political experience of a whole generation and I was fortunate to open an exhibition of his work at the Knesset.”

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