Israel Prize winner David Rubinger, whose lens captured key moments in Israeli history and helped define the nation’s collective consciousness. David Rubinger (דוד רובינגר) was an Israeli photographer and photojournalist. His famous photo of three Israeli paratroopers after the recapture the Western Wall in the Six-Day War has become a defining image of the conflict. Shimon Peres called Rubinger “the photographer of the nation in the making“.
Born in Austria in 1924, 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, first with the now defunct daily Haolam Haze (This World, העולם הזה) and then with Yedioth Ahronoth. He also served as Time Life’s photographer in Israel. Over his illustrious career, Rubinger took over 500,000 pictures that tell the story of the state of Israel, exemplified in his iconic photograph of three Israeli paratroopers looking up at the Western Wall. The photo, taken after the first Israeli soldiers entered East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War, is viewed as a symbol of Israel’s victory in the decisive war, that saw it take full control of Jerusalem, include the Old City and the Jewish holy site.
David Rubinger was awarded the Israel Prize in communications for 1997, the first year it was awarded in that category. (His fellow laureate in communications was veteran television broadcaster Haim Yavin). He was the first photographer to receive the Israel Prize, as the category of Photography was not awarded until 2000.
Rubinger died on 2 March 2017 at the age of 92.
“David immortalized history in his photographs that will forever remain in our memory,” Israel’s president eulogized him, referencing Rubinger’s iconic shot of Israeli paratroopers entering the Western Wall complex during the 1967 Six Day War.