Looking straight into someone’s eyes can be disconcerting. But two Israeli photographers believe that it is through the eyes of the country’s politicians, celebrities, journalists, athletes and every day people that the nation’s story is told best.

In honor of Israel’s 68th Independence Day, a photo exhibit of 68 pairs of eyes “representing the mosaic of Israel” will grace the walls of the Jerusalem Theater.

Photographers Meir Elipur and Judith Harpaz say they wanted to show the “real Israel” and chose subjects who represent communities within the multicultural society that makes Israel what it is.

The eyes belong to the likes of President Reuven Rivlin; legendary American-Israeli basketball playerTal Brody; Israeli politician/human rights activist Natan Sharansky; Miriam Peretz, mother of fallen Golani Brigade soldiers Uriel and Eliraz Peretz; Nobel laureate Prof. Yisrael Aumann; Greek Orthodox priest Gabriel Naddaf; singer Einat Sarouf and others.

These eyes belong to Israeli news reporter Sivan Rahav-Meir. Photo: courtesy
These eyes belong to Israeli news reporter Sivan Rahav-Meir. Photo: courtesy

“We spoke about how to connect the viewer to the people in the photographs and both groups to our very special country,” says Elipur, a press photographer, as to how the new exhibit came about.

“We want the viewers to look into the eyes of our subjects and learn about their stories. We want people to understand how diverse and unique the Israeli society is. And there’s no better time than Independence Day.”

The exhibit is also interactive. It includes a map of Israel showing the different communities in which people featured in the exhibition live. And the ComeToArt app will give visitors access to more in-depth explanations of the subjects.

Elipur, who has been behind the camera since the age of 16, says that photography plays a major role in his life. The Jerusalem-born father of three says that for him, photography is all about catching a real moment and letting it tell a full story.

Harpaz, a studio photographer, says taking photos of people is an “exciting activity filled with surprises.”

The exhibit will be open to the public for free at the Jerusalem Theater from May 9 through June 9and then will then travel to other galleries around Israel.