Palestinian women knit Jewish skullcaps

Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:40am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Mohammed Assadi

DEIR ABU MESHAL, West Bank (Reuters) - Of all the cottage industries you might expect to find in the Israeli- occupied West Bank, the crocheting of Jewish skullcaps by Palestinian hands seems one of the oddest.

But creating the colorful cap, known in Hebrew as a "kippah," keeps hundreds of women busy in villages like Deir Abu Meshal, which have been making the religious headgear for their Jewish neighbors for some 40 years.

Almost every house in the village of 3,000 west of Ramallah makes the little caps. It's a social event as well as a helpful cash-earner. Women bring their wool and needles to each other's home to crochet and chat.

"We make qors (the Arab name for kippah translates as 'disc') while having a gossip," said Umm Ali. "We meet each other and we make money at the same time," added the mother of three, whose husband is unemployed.

The women make around five caps a day, worth about 12 shekels ($3) each.

"Women here can't sit down without knitting. We've gotten used to it," jokes Ruqaya Barghouthi.

Six Palestinian skullcap dealers distribute the wool, needles and the models to women in this village and 10 neighboring villages.

The finished articles are collected each week and shipped to Israeli retailers. The skullcaps are also exported to the United States.   Continued...

<p>Palestinian Ruqaya Barghouthi makes a Jewish skullcap, known in Hebrew as a "kippah", in the West Bank village of Deir Abu Meshal near Ramallah August 12, 2009. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri</p>