Dozens of Israeli women stripped off their clothes Saturday in a show of solidarity with the 20-year-old Egyptian blogger who caused a stir in the Arab world last week when she posted a naked photo of herself in protest against the limits on free expression in her country.
Touched by the spirited protest measure, some 40 Israelis posed for a nude group shot in support of the Egyptian activist, Aliaa Magda Elmahdy,
who received threats and harsh criticism for her actions. Unlike Elmahdy, however, the Israeli women did not fully display their intimate parts for the camera.
The brains behind the operation is Or Tepler, 28, who opened a Facebook event inviting 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."
'Love without limits' (Photo: Anat Cohen)
"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. (…) Let us show the doubters that our international discourse doesn't depend on governments."
More than 100 women said they would attend. The participants were photographed holding a sign saying "Love without Limits," and "Homage to Aliaa Elmahdi. Sisters in Israel."
"I got the idea the day that the blogger's photo was posted," Tepler told Ynet. "I didn't expect that she would get the response that she got. It got on my nerves that she received a quarter of a million abusive comments and death threats. (…) I felt that when a liberal, enlightened woman in Cairo cannot express herself and gets threats from her state, I should show solidarity.
"Of course there's the nationalistic aspect, and I won't deny being a leftist and a seeker of peace," she added. "I feel like the governments don't represent the enlightened, simple people who want peace."
Tepler, who was active in the social protest movement over the summer, made efforts to get in touch with Elmahdy, but was unsuccessful.
"She's as popular as Daphni Leef
on the 14th of July," she explained. "I sent her an e-mail, but I saw that her Twitter and Facebook account have been closed. People really want to take her down, while we want to show her that there are many groups that support her."