200 Israelis strip naked for photo shoot near the Dead Sea

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One photo shoot stopped 200 Israelis dead in their tracks.

Two-hundred Israeli volunteers stripped naked for a photo shoot designed to draw attention to the shrinking of the Dead Sea.

The uninhibited art enthusiasts assembled outside the city of Arad on Sunday afternoon for American snapper Spencer Tunick.

After shedding their clothes, the volunteers smeared white paint across their bodies and the three-hour shoot began. Temperatures were a warm 76 degrees, meaning the only type of shrinkage male volunteers were preoccupied by was the one occurring in the Dead Sea.

In recent years, the salty sea has diminished in size due to mineral extraction and evaporation caused by climate change. Israel and Jordan also divert some of the sea’s water for agricultural purposes, adding to its contraction.

Tunick directed the large group from the top of a truck.
Tunick directed the large group from the top of a truck.
AP

Sunday’s photo shoot was promoted by Israel’s Tourism Ministry, in the hopes of attracting visitors to the area. The country has been closed to vacationers for much of the COVID pandemic, but is now beginning to welcome back vaccinated tourists.

However, not all government officials were thrilled with the saucy shoot. One conservative lawmaker described it as a “mass abomination,” according to the Guardian.

Volunteers, on the other hand, felt liberated as they posed in the buff. One female volunteer told the publication: “It feels really natural, once you take your clothes off. You kind of don’t want to put them back on.”

The three-hour shoot took place on Sunday afternoon.
The three-hour shoot took place on Sunday afternoon.
AP

Tunick is known for his large-scale nude shoots, and has photographed in Israel on two previous occasions.

“My visit to Israel was an experience for me and I am always happy to return here and photograph in the only country in the Middle East that allows art such as this,” he said on Sunday.

He has hit headlines with his other frisky photo shoots, which have taken place all over the world.

Tunick first made news in 1995 when he was arrested for photographing a naked male model posed atop an 8-foot Christmas ball at Rockefeller Center.

Israel's Tourism Ministry endorsed the photo shoot.
Israel’s Tourism Ministry endorsed the photo shoot.
AP

“There was no sign saying don’t climb the Christmas ball, and there certainly wasn’t a sign saying don’t climb it naked,” he told The Post in 1999.

That same year, Tunick was arrested for disorderly conduct after organizing a large-scale nude photo shoot in Times Square shoot. He later filed a lawsuit against New York City, claiming then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his cohorts violated his first amendment rights after a second proposed nude shoot in Manhattan was blocked.

Meanwhile, Tunick has conducted other large-scale nude shoots all across the globe.

Tunick has previously photographed nude volunteers in Israel. A photo from his 2012 shoot in the country is seen above.
Tunick has previously photographed nude volunteers in Israel. A photo from his 2012 shoot in the country is seen above.
AP

In 2010, 5,200 LGBTQ Australians posed stark naked on the steps of the Sydney Opera House for Tunick.

He returned to Australia in 2016 to photograph 500 people on the roof of a Melbourne supermarket. The nude participants shivered during the shoot, which took place in the middle of winter.

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