A tembel hat (Hebrew: kova tembel, כובע טמבל) is a hat which is an Israeli national symbol. The tembel hat was commonly worn by Jews in Israel from the beginning of the 20th century until the 1970s. In Israeli cartoons it is still used to symbolize the typical Israeli (e.g., the cartoon character Srulik).
In Hebrew slang, tembel means silly, or fool. It is not known whether the slang term was named after the hat or the hat after the slang term. There is a theory that the tembel hat was originally the heavy-duty hat of the Templers Christian movement that was active in Palestine at the end of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century. By this theory the hat's first name was "Templers' hat," but it was changed to "tembel hat" by the Arabs who could not pronounce the P and the correct vowels. However, it is more likely that the name "tembel hat" derives from the Turkish or Ottoman word "tembel" which means lazy. The Tembel's shape is the same as the pileus, the hat adopted by freed slaves in Greek and Roman antiquity and adopted as a symbol of freedom at the time of the French Revolution. The ancient pileus survived in Albania in the early 20th century and may have influenced the leaders of the 2nd Aliyah who adopted the hat.
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