What's That On Your Head?
Updated: May 31
You’ll see all kinds of headwear in Israel from a kippah worn by observant Jews to a hijab worn by Muslim and Christian women to a duel neck and head covering normally worn by soldiers.
One of Israel's greatest realities is the vast cultural, religious, and ethnic diversity among the people who live here! Walk down the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or Be'er Sheva, and notice the beauty in the different faces, colors, and clothing of the people around you!
You’ll see all kinds of headwear in Israel. From a kippah worn by observant Jews to a hijab worn by Muslim and Christian women to the head coverings worn by soldiers serving in the IDF!
Continue reading to learn more about the different hats, scarves, and head coverings that are all around you!
The kova tembel was the iconic look of the kibbutznik and the new immigrant Israelis. It was basically the national symbol of Israelis. The hat was worn by Jews in Israel from the early 1900s to the 1970s. There was even a cartoon character created, Srulik, who symbolized Israel and the new pioneering Israeli, and of course, he wore a kova tembel!
חם צוואר (cham sav'ahr) / Neck Gaiter
This item of clothing is not just used as a neck warmer, but has a string you can pull to close one end and turn it into a hat! This amazing dual-purpose item is popular and well needed by Israeli soldiers when they are patrolling in the winter months. Though they are mostly worn by soldiers you can see many Israelis donning their own (or ones they had in the IDF) when braving cold and windy winter days.
Religious Muslim women wear headscarves called a hijab. A hijab is a headscarf that covers the head and upper neck but exposes the face. Choosing to wear a hijab can be part religion, part political statement, part cultural, and part fashion. It is one type of veil worn by religious Muslim women in Israel today.
Kippah or Yarmulke
This head covering is a brimless cap worn by Jewish males fulfilling a requirement that the head must be covered. There are all types of kippot in Israel you can find them crocheted, made of velvet, suede, or leather. The type of material can be an indication of adherence to a specific religious movement.
Mitpachat is the word for the headscarf worn by Jewish women after they marry. You may also hear it being called a tichel, which originates from the Yiddish language. A mitpachat can range from a simple headband or plain scarf tied at the back of the neck to elaborate wrappings of multiple fabrics and tying techniques. They truly are a sight to behold.
Hasidic headwear: the shtreimel (plural: shtreimelekh), spodik, and kolpik. This furry headgear is worn by Jewish men on Shabbat, festivals, and other significant occasions like weddings. You will be bound to run into someone with this great fur hat somewhere in Israel, even in Tel Aviv!
If you find yourself in northern Israel it is likely that you will see a few men wearing white turbans. If you do you can be sure that he follows the Druze faith. Only a percentage of the Druze population is religious and the men that choose to be religious are called ùqqal, or "enlightened". The men shave their heads, wear a tarbush, which is wrapped with a white turban cloth (Laffa).