Circassians in Israel
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|Regions with significant populations|
|Hebrew, Adyghe language|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Circassians in Israel are Sunni Muslims, they tend to put an emphasis on the separation between their religion and their nationality. Israel has about 4,000 Circassians, who are mainly centered in two villages of Kfar Kama and Rehaniya.
Background and history
The Circassians arrived in the Middle East after they were expelled from their homeland in the northern Caucasus. The Circassians, who fought during the long period (see the Russian-Circassian War) wherein the Russians captured the northern Caucasus, were massacred and expelled by Czarist Russia from the Caucasus. The Ottoman Empire, which saw the Circassians as experienced fighters, absorbed them in their territory and settled them in sparsely populated areas, including the Galilee.
The Israeli Circassians have had good relations with the Jewish community in Israel since the beginning of the Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel, thanks to the common language they had with the First Aliyah immigrants from Russia who settled in the Galilee. The Circassian community in Israel helped the illegal immigration (Ha'apala) of Jews from Lebanon into Mandate Palestine and fought on the Israeli side of the War of Independence.
As is the case with the Israeli Jews and the Israeli Druze population groups living in the state of Israel (except for the Druze population living on the Golan Heights), since 1958 all male Circassians (at their leader's request) must complete the Israeli mandatory military service upon reaching the age of majority, while females do not. Many Circassians in Israel are employed in the Israeli security forces, including in the Israeli Border Police, the Israeli Defence Forces, the Israeli Police and the Israeli Prison Service. The percentage of the army recruits among the Circassian community in Israel is particularly high.
Nowadays, the Circassian community in Israel is well integrated into Israeli society, speak Adyghe (in addition to learning Hebrew, Arabic and English in elementary school), while cultivating their unique heritage and culture.
Notable Israeli Circassians
The mosque in Kfar Kama
The site of the abandoned Circassian village which was established in 1860 by Circassians from Bulgaria and was eventually abandoned due to the spread of Malaria
- "Ethnic People Groups of Israel". Joshua Project. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- The Circassians in Israel
- Circassians (in Rihania and Kfar-Kama)
- Circassians in Israel