Photographer David Rubinger z"l
Photographer David Rubinger z"l צילום: Oren Nahshon / FLASH90

David Rubinger, among the oldest and most respected press photographers in Israel, has died at the age of 92. His funeral date has not yet been publicized.

Over his long photography career, Rubinger took many photos that have become an intrinsic part of documenting the history of the State of Israel.

Rubinger was the favorite photographer of the first prime minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, and many of the most famous pictures of Ben Gurion were taken with Rubinger's camera.

Famous images taken by Rubinger include striking oil at the Heletz oil field in 1955, showing workers joyfully standing by the gushing wellhead. Another famous picture he took was of the joyous reception of those liberated from the plane hijacked to Entebbe in Operation Yonatan in 1976.

However, the most famous picture taken by Rubinger is the picture of the paratroopers who liberated Jerusalem's Old City standing in awe near the Western Wall in the midst of the Six Day War. Rubinger, who joined the IDF forces who broke into the Old City, also photographed Rabbi Goren blowing the shofar near the Wall.

הרב שלמה גורן בכותל
הרב שלמה גורן בכותל צילום: דוד רובינגר, לע"מ

Many heads of state eulogized Rubinger upon hearing the news of his death. President Reuven Rivlin published an official statement that reads, "David Rubinger, a dear friend of Nechama and mine, left us this morning. There are those who write the pages of history and those who create it with their camera's lens. Through his photography, David eternalized history as it will be forever
etched in our memories. His work will continue to be felt through the eyes of the paratroopers lifted towards the wall, from the facial expressions of the leaders of Israel caught in the midst of the most difficult and sublime hours of our lives.

"When I entered the president's office, I hung the picture of Ben Gurion on the wall. David came to visit with a special signed copy, and helped me place it next to the picture of Jabotinsky that accompanied me through the years. I will continue to carry his unique image with me, armed with his ancient and trusty camera," Rivlin added.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also eulogized Rubinger: "The photographer David Rubinger was and will remain the great Israeli documentor. He was always there to capture the moments of glory and war, the joy and the pain. He followed the Knesset closely for decades and the Israeli political experience of an entire generation, and I had the privilege to inaugurate an exhibition of his photographs in the Knesset.

"No less than the fact that his memory will be for a blessing, he leaves behind several hundred pictures of the story of Israel and its leadership. David was also a special, pleasant, and outstanding personality. I send condolences to his family and to all those who love him," said Edelstein.

Opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog called Rubinger "the Marc Chagall of Israeli photography. An artist with his camera telling the story of Israel from the dawn of its existence, in the great moments and the painful. A lovely person. May his memory be blessed."

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