Women of the Wall, a group which campaigns for women’s religious rights at the Western Wall, recruited the country’s national memory to campaign for gender equality at the site on Wednesday, by having themselves photographed in the same pose as the paratroopers who conquered the Old City in 1967.
Veteran photographer David Rubinger reenacted his iconic images from 1967, taking pictures of the female activists in liberators’ pose at Robinson’s Arch — at the southern section of Wall, to the southwest of the Temple Mount — wearing tallitot and holding a Torah scroll, rather than wearing army helmets.
Rubinger decided to join the group after they asked for his permission to use his 1967 picture of the paratroopers, Anat Hoffman, a leading activist and CEO of Women of the Wall, told the Hebrew news site Ynet.
She said she told him about a group of women “trying to end the extremist-religious monopoly over the Western Wall,” and he decided to take part in their struggle. “For me, you’re real liberators,” she recalled him saying.
Rubinger — the first photographer to win the Israel Prize — said he was happy to help the group. Back then, “Women and men sat together next to the Wall in pictures I took,” the 86-year-old told Ynet. He said the soldiers wearing their helmets were more holy than any of the extremists at the Wall.
Hoffman expressed her continued disappointment at the management of the holy site. “There are more than 100 Torah scrolls at the Western Wall,” she said. “How is it possible that not one is on the women’s side?”