Circassians in Israel

Circassians in Israel

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The Circassians in Israel refers to the Adyghe
Adyghe people
The Adyghe or Adygs , also often known as Circassians or Cherkess, are in origin a North Caucasian ethnic groupwho were displaced in the course of the Russian conquest of the Caucasus in the 19th century, especially after the Russian–Circassian War of 1862.Adyghe people mostly speak Adyghe and most...

 community who live in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

.

The Circassians in Israel are moderate Sunni Muslims
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

, they tend to put an emphasis on the separation between their religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 and their nationality
Nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....

. Israel has about 4,000 Circassians, who are mainly centered in two villages of Kfar Kama and Rehaniya
Rehaniya
Rehaniya is a predominantly Circassian village about 8 km north of Safed in northern Israel. It belongs to the Merom HaGalil Regional Council.-Background and history:...

.

Background and history


The Circassians arrived in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 after they were expelled from their homeland in the northern Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

. The Circassians, who fought during the long period (see the Russian-Circassian War
Russian-Circassian War
The Russian–Circassian War refers to a series of battles and wars in Circassia, the northwestern part of the Caucasus, which were part of the Russian Empire's conquest of the Caucasus lasting approximately 150 years, starting under the reign of Tsar Peter the Great and being completed in 1864...

) wherein the Russians captured the northern Caucasus, were massacred and expelled by Czarist Russia from the Caucasus. The Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, which saw the Circassians as experienced fighters, absorbed them in their territory and settled them in sparsely populated areas, including the Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 .

The Circassians exiles established the village Rehaniya
Rehaniya
Rehaniya is a predominantly Circassian village about 8 km north of Safed in northern Israel. It belongs to the Merom HaGalil Regional Council.-Background and history:...

 in 1873, and the village of Kfar Kama in 1876 .

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
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

, thanks to the common language they had with the First Aliyah
First Aliyah
The First Aliyah was the first modern widespread wave of Zionist aliyah. Jews who migrated to Palestine in this wave came mostly from Eastern Europe and from Yemen. This wave of aliyah began in 1881–82 and lasted until 1903. An estimated 25,000–35,000 Jews immigrated to Ottoman Syria during the...

 immigrants from Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 who settled in the Galilee. The Circassian community in Israel helped the illegal immigration (Ha'apala
Ha'apala
Aliyah Bet |bet]] being the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet) was the code name given to illegal immigration by Jews to the British Mandate for Palestine in violation of British White Paper of 1939 restrictions, in the years 1934-1948. In modern day Israel it has also been called by the Hebrew...

) 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
Israeli Druze
According to the 2008 National Resilience Survey, conducted by Dr. Yussuf Hassan of the Tel Aviv University, more than 94% of Druze youngsters classified themselves as "Druze-Israelis" in the religious and national context....

 population groups living in the state of Israel (except for the Israeli 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
Israel Border Police
The Israel Border Police is the gendarmerie and border security branch of the Israel National Police. It is also commonly known by its Hebrew abbreviation Magav , meaning border guard, whilst its members are colloquially known as Magavnikim . Border Guard is often used as the official name of the...

, the Israeli Defence Forces, the Israeli Police
Israel Police
The Israel Police is the civilian police force of Israel. As with most other police forces in the world, its duties include crime fighting, traffic control, maintaining public safety, and counter-terrorism...

 and the Israeli Prison Service
Israel Prison Service
The Israel Prison Service , commonly known in Israel by its acronym Shabas , is the prison service of Israel. It is responsible for maintaining civilian prisons in Israel, as well as detention centers for security prisoners. It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public Security...

. 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
Adyghe language
Adyghe language , also known as West Circassian , is one of the two official languages of the Republic of Adygea in the Russian Federation, the other being Russian. It is spoken by various tribes of the Adyghe people: Abzekh, Adamey, Bzhedugh; Hatukuay, Kemirgoy, Makhosh; Natekuay, Shapsigh; Zhane,...

 and Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 (in addition to learning Hebrew, Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 and English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 in elementary school), while cultivating their unique heritage and culture .

Notable Israeli Circassians



See also

  • Circassian diaspora
    Circassian diaspora
    The Circassian diaspora refers to the resettlement of the Circassian population, especially during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. From 1763 to 1864, the Circassians fought against the Russian Empire in the Russian-Circassian War, finally succumbing to a scorched-earth campaign...

  • Adyghe people
    Adyghe people
    The Adyghe or Adygs , also often known as Circassians or Cherkess, are in origin a North Caucasian ethnic groupwho were displaced in the course of the Russian conquest of the Caucasus in the 19th century, especially after the Russian–Circassian War of 1862.Adyghe people mostly speak Adyghe and most...

  • Israelis
  • Kfar Kama
  • Rehaniya
    Rehaniya
    Rehaniya is a predominantly Circassian village about 8 km north of Safed in northern Israel. It belongs to the Merom HaGalil Regional Council.-Background and history:...