Yitzhak Yifat, who features in David Rubinger Western Wall photograph, and ex-soldier look back: ‘He said, “Please stop.” And then he took the famous picture’

Dr Yitzhak Yifat, an Israeli paratrooper in 1967, was the central figure in David Rubinger’s famous photograph of three Israeli soldiers celebrating the capture of the Western Wall.

I was 23 then and a corporal. When Gamal Abdel Nasser [the Egyptian president] blockaded the Suez canal, Israelis were being called up. I wasn’t called up at first – I was a teacher then – but on 23 May I was back home in Tel Aviv when I heard the doorbell ring. I opened it. I saw a boy and girl, both soldiers. They had my call-up order and in a few minutes I had prepared a backpack.

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