21 MayResearchAcademic studiesDiaspora2010 | Reichel, Circassians in Israel

Nirit Reichel
The role of the educational system in retaining Circassian identity during the transition from Ottoman control to life as Israeli citizens (1878–2000), Israel Affairs Vol. 16, No. 2, April 2010, 251–267

The purpose of this article is to examine the role played by the educational system of Kfar Kama in maintaining Circassian identity: how this has been expressed in different periods and what methods have been used as agents of conservation, as an agent of change? What factors have influenced the educational system?What methods did schools choose to employ? The article examines the decision-making processes regarding the school at Kfar Kama, the role of the internal system in determining educational policy, the results of the dialogue with the national state educational system, and what arrangements have beenmade to enable retention of Circassian culture by the Ottoman, British and Israeli governments.

In 2004, there were some 3200 Circassians in Israel, living in two villages, Kfar Kama and Rihania. The Circassians came to Israel from the Caucasus region at the end of the nineteenth century, while the country was under Ottoman rule. Since their settlement in Israel the ruling power changed from Ottoman Turkey to Great Britain and from Britain to the independent Jewish State of Israel. Although a small minority, the Circassians have retained their unique identity while not relinquishing their position in the civil society within which they live.

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