Dozens of Israeli women posed naked in support of 20-year-old Egyptian blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdi. In the photograph, posted to Facebook, the women stand behind signs reading “Love without Limits” and “Homage to Aliaa Elmahdi. Sisters in Israel.”
Elmahdi sparked controversy this weekend when she posted a full frontal nudity shot of herself to her blog to protest against the limitations of free speech persisting in post-Mubarak Egypt. Since posting the photos, Elmahdi has received death threats and been criticized for providing ammunition for conservative groups in the upcoming elections.
Or Tepler organized the Israeli photo shoot through an event on Facebook which invited women “to show support in a non-violent and legitimate way for a woman who is just like us – young, ambitious, full of dreams and evidently has a developed sense of humor.”
“Girls, let’s give the world a good reason to see the unique beauty of Israeli women,” Tepler wrote. “Regardless of whether they are Jewish, Arab, straight or Lesbian – because here, as of now, it doesn’t matter.” She continued, “Let us show the doubters that our international discourse doesn’t depend on governments.”
Tepler explained to Ynet, “I got the idea the day that the blogger’s photo was posted.” Tepler was stunned by the reaction Elmahdi received, and was compelled to respond. “I felt that when a liberal, enlightened woman in Cairo cannot express herself and gets threats from her state, I should show solidarity.”
Tepler allowed, “Of course there’s the nationalistic aspect, and I won’t deny being a leftist and a seeker of peace.” Still, Tepler continued, “I feel like the governments don’t represent the enlightened, simple people who want peace.”