David Rubinger, Israel’s most famous photographer has died at the age of 92.

Rubinger’s black-and-white images were the iconic images that tell the story of the Jewish state from it’s birth, throughout  good times and bad.

Think of a popular photograph from Israel, and chances are it was taken by David Rubinger.

The iconic Israeli paratroopers gaping in awe at the just-captured Western Wall — that was his.

A jubilant crowd carrying a leader of the Entebbe raid on its shoulders? He got that.

Rabbi Shlomo Goren blowing the shofar while holding a torah at the liberation of the Western Wall, Rubinger’s.

The conic photo of Defense Minister Moshe Dayan flanked by Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin and Uzi Narkiss taken as the Old City was recaptured, aLeo Rubinger.

Prime Minister Menachem Begin, bent over to help his wife into her shoe on the official plane, Rubinger captured that, too.

David Rubinger also took the “Golda ‘Dragon’ Meir” picture.

He seemed to be present at both every major milestones, and every telling moment

Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, recognized just that in his official statement lamenting Rubinger’s passing: “Through his photography, David eternalized history as it will be forever etched in our memories.”

“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.

Eleanor Roosevelt calling on David Ben Gurion at his home in Tel Aviv, 1952. David Rubinger/GPO

 Born in Vienna in 1924, Rubinger moved to what was still British Mandate Palestine in 1939. His mother was among the relatives murdered in the Holocaust.

Israeli Generals arriving by helicopter to the Negev,1967. David Rubinger /GPO

He served in the British army’s “Jewish Brigade” during World War II and later fought Arab armies for the contested land on which Israel would be built.

A cloud of dust after soldiers blew up a rock in order to break through a road in Sinai, 1967. David Rubinger /GPO

He turned to photography at a time when the newborn country was pretty much a bunch of people trying to figure things out, and moved easily in the orbit of every prime minister since David Ben-Gurion.

David Rubinger with IDF soldiers in Beirut, 1982. Micha Bar-Am

In 2004, Rubinger’s life companion, Ziona Spivak  was brutally murdered by their gardener, Mohammad Mahmoud Sabarna.
Sabarna stabbed her to death  after he asked her for a NIS 25,000 loan. When Spivak refused to loan Sabarna the money, he strangled her and stabbed her with two knives he took from her kitchen. He slit her throat and she died on the spot.

Golda Meir doing the dishes (Photo: David Rubinger)

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.

sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands in front of David Rubinger’s iconic photo.

“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.”

Enjoy the rest of these iconic images caught in time by Rubinger’s lens.

Mr. Rubinger was particularly proud of his photo of the military chief rabbi, Shlomo Goren, with a shofar and being carried by soldiers at the Western Wall.
Rubinger captured soldiers showering off the desert dust in Eilat in June 1967 (Courtesy Rubinger/Knesset collection)
IDF Chief of Staff David Elazar (R) during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. (David Rubinger/Government Press Office)
During the War of Independence, 1948, a woman receives basic training in grenade throwing

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LIFE, TIME and Arutz 7 contributed to this article.


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