Circassian Re-Immigration To The Caucasus, by Chen Bram

"Routes and Roots: Emigration in a global perspective", ed. by S. Weil,  Magnes, Jerusalem, 1999.   Pp. 205-222.  
Chen Bram
Truman Institute, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 
The Circassians, people of the northwestern  Caucasus, have been in a state of Diaspora ever since the Russians forced their migration to the Ottoman Empire in the second half of the last  century. Today, besides  the Caucasus, the Circassians live mainly in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Germany and the United States. Over the last few years, a Circassian national movement is crystallizing and a few thousand Circassians have already re-emigrated to the Caucasus.

This study, which is based on anthropological field work in the Galilee between 1990- 1994 and on field trips to Northern Caucuses in 1990 and 1993, deals with questions concerning the re-emigration of the Circassians to their homeland up to the beginning of 1994.  This chapter  will examine this process and the changing attitude of the Israeli Circassians towards their relations with their homeland, namely, the transformation from an aspiration and  vision of returning to their homeland sometime in the future,  to a claim that the relation of the Circassians  to the Caucuses and their brothers who live there should be like the connection  between the American Jews and the State of  Israel. In other words, the chapter examines the definition of a community in exile who are in the process of re-defining a more complicated definition of Diaspora-Center connections. This new definition influences group identity and patterns of accommodation in Israel.

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