Monday, August 24, 2009

Palestinian women crochet kippot for Israeli Jews

Reuters has uncovered the fact, well-known in Israel, that many kippot (skullcaps) worn by religious Israelis are crocheted by Palestinian women.

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...

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

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

The women of Deir Abu Meshal, known for its traditional dress embroidery, say that to them it's merely a business.

They say they have no qualms about furnishing skullcaps for the people of the occupying power or the Jewish settler, who may be living on Palestinian land.

They say the work is convenient: they don't have to travel.

"Without this knitting business, people here would be very poor," said Nema Khamis, 50, who passed on her skills to her five daughters and daughter-in-law.

A great example of economic cooperation which benefits all sides. Most impressive: these women claim to make five kippot a day, each. Now that is speed. The only kippot I've ever made, as a teenager, took me months. It's a wonder they have any time to bring up children.....

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