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Cabinet Moves to Improve Status of the Circassian Community

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The Cabinet decided today to improve the official status of Israel’s Circassian community consisting of some 3,000 Moslems of Caucasian origin who have successfully integrated into Israeli society. The Cabinet’s action places the Circassians on the same official level with the more numerous Druze. Both minorities serve in Israel’s armed forces from which the Arab population is barred.

The Circassians will be dealt with henceforth directly by government offices rather than through the various ministerial Arab departments. Officially, they will enjoy virtually the same privileges as the Jewish population. But according to some Druze leaders experienced in dealing directly with government departments this is a mixed blessing. The Druze have complained that-since they were accorded the same treatment as Jewish citizens the quality of government services they receive has deteriorated rather than improved.

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