For the love of God?: Model's naked Kotel photo sparks controversy

Marisa Papen to 'Post': I do it to spread love and freedom.

Marisa Papen appears in an edited version of a photo taken last month (photo credit: MATHIAS LAMBRECHT)
Marisa Papen appears in an edited version of a photo taken last month
(photo credit: MATHIAS LAMBRECHT)
Marisa Papen, a Belgian nude model, has posted images of herself stark naked in front of the Western Wall, online and in an art exhibition in Belgium.
Papen was in Israel in May for three days with Belgian photographer Mathias Lambrecht, and went to a private home in the Old City of Jerusalem with a rooftop that overlooks the Western Wall plaza and the Temple Mount for a photo shoot.
The notorious model posted a picture of herself on her website totally naked and reclining on a white plastic chair in full view of the Western Wall. Part of the Temple Mount is also visible, although neither al-Aqsa Mosque nor the Dome of the Rock shrine can be seen.
Papen told The Jerusalem Post via email on Wednesday that this was her third time visiting the country: "I love Israel." The model said she came specifically to shoot the photos for a gallery in Belgium, for a series titled "Road to Liberation."
"I didn’t have one negative encounter with anyone [while in Israel],” she said. "On the contrary, everyone was very incredibly hospitable and generous and loving."
In addition to posing at the Western Wall, Papen posed for photos at the Dead Sea, in Tel Aviv and even straddling an Israeli flagpole.
The model said she first visited Israel about five years ago, and "it made a very strong impression on me." Papen added that there is a sharp contrast between "the freedom and the relaxedness you experience in Tel Aviv and then the intense atmosphere in Jerusalem."
Since posting the images online, Papen said she has received "lots of negative [reactions] but also a lot of positivity. And that’s what I do it for, to spread love and freedom."
She experienced something significantly less than freedom in September 2017, when she conducted a photo shoot at the ancient Egyptian Karnak Temple complex. She was spotted by guards, arrested and spent the night in jail before leaving the country.
In a post on her website four days ago about her time in Israel, titled "Wall of Shame," Papen wrote that the title “purely implies the shame you, dear reader, (perhaps) will project on me because I have done something so disrespectful, I should burn in hell.”
She added that after her time in Egypt, "I knew that I wanted to push the bounderies [sic] of regilion [sic] and politics even further. Breaking down the walls that have been built to keep all our wandering souls on this planet somehow under control... showing my personal religion in a world where freedom is becoming a very luxurious thing.”
Many of those who commented on Instagram and on her website, applauded the photo, while others upbraided her for disrespecting the holy site.
One commenter said he hoped she contracted HIV or HPV, while another questioned why the photograph had excluded al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock.
“Was it in order not to upset Muslims? Just Jews? You mentioned to push the 'boundaries' of religion... so I guess you meant only the one that will not kill you?” he wrote.
Another person asked if Papen would dare pose for such a photograph in front of an Islamic or Christian holy site.
“If you were asked such a picture in front of the stone in Mecca, or in front of an important church or any important site that is important to you, would you do it? Everyone has an important place each and his religion. So why did you agree to such a picture in front of the Western Wall, which is considered the most important site in Israeli culture ???”