Tel Aviv to Melbourne

Knitting and crocheting in solidarity

The women have been knitting and crocheting in yellow as a symbol of the hostages since October.

Israeli women in Tel Aviv knitting tree huggers
Israeli women in Tel Aviv knitting tree huggers

Phil Lewis, one of the 27 philanthropists on a recent mission to Israel with Australian Jewish Funders (AJF) was walking around Tel Aviv when he came across a group of women sitting on benches in Rothschild Boulevard knitting in yellow yarn. “Because I am a knitter, he approached them and asked what they were doing,” his wife Sue Lewis told The AJN.

The women have been knitting and crocheting in yellow as a symbol of the hostages since October. “They come together every Shabbat to knit and are yarn-hugging all over Tel Aviv to keep awareness of the plight of the hostages.

“They are knitting until everyone is home. Until it is possible to hug everyone [their] yellow hugs are wrapped around trees,” Lewis added. Working at the Melbourne Holocaust Museum she has learned that you can’t be a bystander.

As a member of a local knitting group, Lewis suggested they imitate the Tel Aviv group. “We all felt so helpless and I was hoping that by doing this, we could show the women in Israel a little bit of solidarity.”

Within a week the group crocheted a large banner that said Bring Them Home and put it up on a tree in Caulfield Park on Purim and at the morning vigil for the hostages and their families over the long weekend in March.

Local knitting group members from left: Sue Lewis, Zita Gersh, Rochelle Weinman, Aviva Teperman standing behind.

Her husband who was still in Israel at the time took the photos she sent to the women in Tel Aviv. “They were so grateful to hear that people on the other side of the world in Melbourne were thinking of them with loving solidarity; they posted our pics on their Instagram page knitting4hostages. Lewis said their knitted Bring Them Home banner will be put up again when it is appropriate.

She went on to say, “There’s a skill set some people have; we are not great orators or scientists, but we all feel what’s happening and just want to help make a little difference however small. It is a little thing that we can do but it becomes a lot bigger; that is what it is all about us.

“The overriding thing is just the love for Israel; I hope the hostages will be back soon and the soldiers can do their job in safety.” Lewis and her knitting group are part of a growing cohort of women who have spoken to The AJN about supporting Israel. Most of the conversations start when a woman sits down thinking what can I do? How can I help?

View the knitting at

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