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Israeli Women Strip in Support of Nude Egyptian Blogger

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"I am not shy of being a woman..."

Forty Israeli women posed nude in support of a young female Egyptian blogger who drew criticism and threats for posting a naked photo of herself to protest against the limits of free speech in her country. The organizer of the Israeli event says she wanted to show support for women like Egyptian activist Aliaa Elmahdy, and show the world "a good reason to see the unique beauty of Israeli women."

"Regardless of whether they are Jewish, Arab, straight or Lesbian – because here, as of now, it doesn't matter. … Let us show the doubters that our international discourse doesn't depend on governments," Or Tepler told YNet News. Tepler organized the event on Facebook.  The participants were photographed holding a sign saying "Love without Limits," and "Homage to Aliaa Elmahdi. Sisters in Israel."

Elmahdy has sparked controversy in the Middle East and global uproar after a friend posted a photo of her naked. The photo posted on Twitter with the hashtag #nudephotorevolutionary was viewed over a million times, while Elmahdy's followers jumped from a few hundred to more than 14,000 by Saturday. CNN reports that the photo received global media coverage and provoked outrage in Egypt, a conservative Muslim country where most women wear the veil. Egyptian liberals fear that Elmahdy's actions will hurt prospects in the parliamentary election this week.

The 20-year-old Elmahdy explained to CNN why she allowed a friend to post the photo on Twitter:

"I am not shy of being a woman in a society where women are nothing but sex objects harassed on a daily basis by men who know nothing about sex or the importance of a woman.

The photo is an expression of my being and I see the human body as the best artistic representation of that. I took the photo myself using a timer on my personal camera."

Elmahdy was not a revolutionary in Tahir Square this past February, but said of the remnants of Murbarak's National Democratic Party, "Where is the democracy and liberalism they preach to the world? They only feed what the public wants to hear for their political ambitions."

Tepler told Ynet in regards to her copycat protest, "I got the idea the day that the blogger's photo was posted."

"It got on my nerves that she received a quarter of a million abusive comments and death threats," said Tepler. "I felt that when a liberal, enlightened woman in Cairo cannot express herself and gets threats from her state, I should show solidarity."

Tepler says she was active in the social protest movement over the summer, made efforts to get in touch with Elmahdy, but was unsuccessful.

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