Model’s nude photoshoot in front of Jerusalem’s sacred Western Wall causes controversy  

A Belgian model has sparked controversy after posing nude in front of Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray.

Marisa Papen has faced a barrage of online abuse over the provocative photoshoot which “offends the sanctity” of the Western Wall, according to the sacred site’s rabbi.

In the controversial photo, she is captured sunbathing nude on a rooftop with the Western Wall in the background of the shot. 

In a blog post entitled ‘The Wall of Shame’, Ms Papen defended the series of raunchy photos taken on a three-day road trip through Israel, travelling from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“I know my mailbox is about to fill up with threats and angriness again – to all the people typing down their furiosity right now, save your energy. I don’t even open them,” she posted.

Marisa Papen in 2015 Credit:
Rochelle Brodin/Getty

She explained the purpose of the photoshoot was to “push the boundaries of religion and politics even further” and “break down the walls that have been built to keep all our wandering souls on this planet somehow under control”.

Ms Papen added she was keen to show off her “personal religion in a world where freedom is becoming a very luxurious thing”.

Another photo shows Ms Papen in the nude climbing a metal pole flying the blue and white Flag of Israel.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation lamented the shoot as a “grave incident”.  

The site’s rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily: “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.”

Others have praised the photos, with one admirer calling them “tasteful, artistic and brave”.

Ms Papen caused a similar controversy last year when she and her team were arrested for posing naked in front of Egypt’s ancient temples.

She said a judge “gave us a warning and told us never to do something so foolishly shameful ever again”.

The Western Wall and Temple Mount was visited this month by the Duke of Cambridge as part of a historic five-day tour of the Middle East. 

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