There are presently 13 Circassian villages in the Golan Heights and two in Northern Israel, which are called Kfar Kama and Rehaniya. In a Zoom event for ESRA, a network that helps English-speakers fully integrate into Israeli society, our guide Anat Harel explained that the Circassians “are a mountain people that live by the sea.” According to Harel, there are 4,000 Circassians in Israel today, who have good relations with the Jewish community.
“The Byzantines converted them to Christianity, but in Ottoman times many of them became Muslim,” Harel stressed. “In the 13th and 14th centuries, they had their own kingdom in Circassia along the Black Sea.” After their homeland of Circassia was invaded by the Russians, she noted that the Ottomans settled them near Druze, Christian and Kurdish areas, as a counterweight loyal to them. Thus, the Circassians could collect taxes from the surrounding areas.
Aibek Nabso, who is the director of the Circassian Heritage Center, added that there are six million Circassians living in the Diaspora today, who speak a language that is presently endangered: “It is an...
Become a Member
Read all member content
Get exclusive in-depth reports from Israel.
Get exclusive in-depth reports from Israel
Connect with Israel, right from your home.
Lift up the voice of truth and hope
Support Jerusalem-based Zionist journalism.
Already a member? Login here.