David Rubinger, an Israeli photographer who took some of the country’s most iconic pictures over a career that lasted more than seven decades, died Thursday at the age of 92.
Born in Austria in 1924, Mr. Rubinger immigrated to Israel in 1939 and fought with the Jewish Brigade during World War II. He began to work as a photojournalist in 1951.
His best-known photograph was Israeli paratroopers entering at the Western Wall after Israeli soldiers recaptured the Old City of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War. Awarded the Israel Prize for his works in 1997, his work captured key moments in Israel’s history.
Rubinger later admitted that he did not immediately realize the emotional impact that his picture of the three soldiers would have.
The day before Israeli troops entered Jerusalem’s Old City, on June 7, 1967, he was in the Sinai. “That night I heard some talk on the command radios about something happening in Jerusalem,” he said in an interview years later. ”I didn’t hesitate and just snuck into a helicopter that was evacuating wounded soldiers.
“When I got to Jerusalem, I heard gunshots, so I ran to the Western Wall, maybe 20 minutes after it was taken. I laid down on the ground and these three soldiers just passed by. I didn’t think much of the photo at the time.”
Later that day, Rubinger said, Shlomo Goren, the army’s chief rabbi, arrived at the Wall. “I thought that would be ‘the shot,’” Rubinger said. “When I developed the photos at home, I told my wife: ‘Rabbi Goren, that’s a great photo, historical.’ But my wife pointed at the image of the soldiers and said: ‘That’s a nice photograph.’ And I told her: ‘What nonsense.'”
History proved his wife right.
View some of his works below.