Jewish authorities at the Western Wall in Jerusalem have condemned a Belgian model for “[offending] the sanctity of the site” after she posed nude in view of the ancient landmark, considered a holy site by Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Marisa Papen shared a photo of herself lying naked on a rooftop overlooking the Western Wall to her website on Saturday, writing that she wanted to “[break] down the walls that have been built to keep all our wandering souls on this planet somehow under control.”
“First of all, ‘don’t judge a book by its title’ … This purely implies the shame you, dear reader, (perhaps) will project on me because I have done something so disrespectful, I should burn in hell,” Papen wrote in a decidedly NSFW post on her blog, titled “The Wall of Shame, which contained the picture of herself by the Western Wall along with others taken by photographer Mathias Lambrecht during their visit to Israel. Another image showed Papen next to the Israeli flag at the top of the flagpole, which she had scaled while nude. “I know my mailbox is about to fill up with threats and angriness [sic] again — to all the people typing down their furiosity [sic] right now, save your energy. I don’t even open them.”
Among those to express anger about the photo was Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, who decried the naked photo as “a grave incident.”
“This is an embarrassing incident, grave and lamentable, which offends the sanctity of the site and the feelings of those who visit the holy places,” said Rabinovich. Others also accused Papen of intentionally trying to offend people.
But in her post, Papen explained that the purpose of the image was to help people to reconsider their own preconceived notions about their bodies — and in particular the notion that nudity is somehow sinful or offensive.
“My intention was to make people see their bodies and the human body in a different way,” she said. “The human body is a beautiful thing.” This isn’t the first time Papen has pushed boundaries in regards to social acceptance of the female body. Last year, according to The Daily Mail, she spent a night in an Egyptian prison after posing for a nude photoshoot at a temple in Luxor.
Read the full story at The Times of Israel.