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Kfar Kama

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Title: Kfar Kama  
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Subject: Circassians in Israel, Circassians, Kfar Kama Adyghe dialect, Demographics of Israel, Circassian language
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Kfar Kama

Kfar Kama (Hebrew: כְּפַר כַּמָא; Adyghe: Кфар Кама) is a town located in the lower Galilee, Israel, with a population of 2,900,[1] largely Circassian.


Kfar Kama might be identified with a village Helenoupolis that Constantine established in honor of his mother Helen.[2]

Excavations carried out in 1961 and 1963 revealed 4th century tombs.[3] Two churches dated to the early 6th century, one dedicated to Saint Thecla, were uncovered, with multicolored mosaics of floral, animal and geometric patterns.[3]

In the Crusader period it was known as Kapharchemme or Capharkeme.[4]

Ruins and parts of five limestone columns have been found, together with a circular basalt olive-press and cisterns.[5]

Ottoman era

In 1596, Kfar Kama appeared in Ottoman tax registers as a village in the Nahiya of Tiberias in the Liwa of Safad. It had a population of 34 Muslim households and paid taxes on wheat, barley, summercrops, cotton, and goats or beehives.[6]

In the 1870s, it was described as having "basaltic stone houses, containing about 200 Moslems, situated in plain of arable soil."[7]

The current village was founded in 1878 by 1150 Circassian immigrants from the Adyghe tribe Shapsugs who were exiled from the Caucasus by the Russians to the Ottoman Empire due to the Russian-Circassian War.[8] Initially they made their living by raising animals, but later became farmers.[8] The first school was established about 1880.[8]

British Mandate era

At the time of the 1922 census of Palestine, Kfar Kama had a population of 670 Muslims and 7 Christians.[9]

In 1945, the population comprised 660 Arabs and the land area was 8,819 dunams.[10] Of this, 8,293 dunams were for cereals,[11] while 108 dunams were built-up land.[12]

1948, and aftermath

The school in the village teaches in a mixed environment of classes in Circassian, Hebrew, Arabic and English languages.[13]

Kfar Kama is one of two Circassian villages in Israel. The other one is Rehaniya. The Circassians are Muslims, who unlike the main Israeli Arab Muslim minority, perform military service in the IDF.

A Center for Circassian Heritage is situated in the village.

Notable natives and residents

The Kfar Kama families

Shapsug families that live in Israel Kfar Kama

  • Abrag ()
  • Ashmuz/Achmuzh (Adyghe: Ачъумыжъ)
  • Bghana ()
  • Bat ()
  • Blanghaps ()
  • Batwash ()
  • Zazi()
  • Kobla ()
  • Qal ()
  • Qatizh ()
  • Lauz ()
  • Libai/Labai()
  • Nago ()
  • Natkho ()
  • Nash ()
  • Napso ()
  • Thawcho ()
  • Gorkozh ()
  • Hazal ()
  • Hadish ()
  • Hako/Hakho ()
  • Shamsi ()
  • Choshha/Shoshha ()
  • Showgan ()
  • Shaga ()
  • Sagas/Shagash ()

In the past there was also Shhalakhwa ().

Other families that live in Kfar Kama

  • Abzah ()
  • Boshnakh ()
  • Bazdug/Bzhedug ()
  • Hatukai ()
  • Tsai ()
  • Shapsugh ().


See also


  1. ^ "Population of Localities Numbering above 2,000 Inhabitants and Other Rural Population" (PDF).  
  2. ^ Yoram Tsafrir, Leah Di Segni and Judith Green (1994). Tabula Imperii Romani: Judaea, Palaestina. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. p. 142. 
  3. ^ a b Dauphin, 1998, p. 727
  4. ^ Pringle, 1997, p. 117
  5. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 391
  6. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 190
  7. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 360
  8. ^ a b c Nirit Reichel (2010). "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 16: 251–267.  
  9. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI
  10. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 72
  11. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 122
  12. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 172
  13. ^ Yulie Khromchenko (22 March 2005). "מדברים פה בהרבה שפות? נקרא לזה "בית ספר רב לשוני"" [They talk a lot of languages? Called it 'a multilingual school'].  


External links

  • Welcome To Kafr Kama
  • SWP map VI, IAA
  • , Wikimedia commons
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