To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Israel’s Six-Day War in the Detroit area, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) reunited the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers from the iconic photo taken by David Rubinger, who passed away in March, of three paratroopers at the Western Wall after they had won the battle for Jerusalem.
Rubinger’s photo, “Paratroopers at the Western Wall,” is recognized as the defining image of the Six-Day War, June 5-10, 1967, during which Israel fought against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. During the war, Israel gained control over Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Sinai Desert and Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights.
“The photo that includes me as a young soldier, holding my helmet in front of the Western Wall, has become a part of history, and has come to define my life since that moment. I went from being an anonymous warrior to an unintentional symbol,” said Dr. Yitzhak Yifat, one of the three paratroopers captured in Rubinger’s photo. “By recreating that euphoric moment 50 years later, we underscored the endurance of our people, and the democratic Jewish homeland.”
All three paratroopers from Rubinger’s photo, Zion Karasenti, Haim Oshri, and Yifat, attended a special reception hosted by FIDF Michigan Chairman Alon Kaufman and his wife, FIDF Michigan Vice President Shari Ferber Kaufman, on June 6 to recreate the historic moment and share their heroic stories.
“The crucial historical moment that Rubinger captured in his famous photo transformed the landscape of Israel and changed the lives of Jews worldwide,” said FIDF Michigan Development Director Paula Lebowitz. “We thought it would be very powerful for our supporters to see the three paratroopers from the photo reunited in the Detroit area. Our commemoration stressed the importance of the Six-Day War and the sacrifices that IDF soldiers made to ensure Israel’s survival.”
Lebowitz added: “The brave men and women of the IDF still risk their lives every day – as they did 50 years ago – to protect the Jewish homeland. While their job is to look after Israel, ours is to look after them.”