Valery Novoselsky

2001 International Romani Union Report:

The Gypsy People of Israel, Gaza & the West Bank

by Valery Novoselsky* 

1. TERMS: GYPSIES, DOM, ROM

"Gypsy" is the general English term used to describe our nation; however, in our homeland (India) we were originally called Dom, meaning "man." Later, Dom developed into Rom. Today, Gypsy people prefer to be identified as Romany in Europe and in America; but in the Middle East & North Africa many still refer to themselves as Dom. In this report, the term "Dom" will be used for those of us who are found in the Middle East and the word "Gypsies" will be used as a general, more recognizable designation for the larger group of our people.

Other names that are used to designate Gypsy people in the Middle East include Barake, Nawar, Kaloro, Koli, Kurbat, Ghorbati, Jat/Zott and Zargari. These names are usually more "tribe specific" but some are used in a more general sense by non-Gypsies. Often the terms carry a pejorative meaning. The term "Nawar," for example, is one of the most widely used designations in the Arab world. The word is commonly used as an insult. In turn, it is applied to the Gypsies, not only as an ethnic designation, but also to designate them as worthless. The Persians use the word Koli in much the same way. These labels are a part of the general negative stereotyping of the Gypsy people in the Middle East.

2. DOMARI COMMUNITIES

Today communities of the Dom can be seen in the following countries of the Middle East: Cyprus, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Gaza and the West Bank and Turkey. Survey work is needed to determine the accuracy of reports that refer to Dom in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Unfortunately, accurate population counts are difficult to secure in all of these countries. Too often Dom are not counted in the national census. Exact counts are also complicated when Dom people "hide" their ethnic identity by declaring themselves to be nationals (i.e., Palestinian Arabs, Lebanese, Iranians, etc.) rather than Dom.

3. ORIGIN OF DOM GYPSIES

Originally coming from India around 1500 years ago, Gypsy people ( ancestors of Domari in the Middle East, Lomarvren of central Europe and the Romanies of Western Europe ) are now scattered throughout the world numbering more than 40 million people. Though their stories of persecution in Europe are widely publicized, little has made its way into print regarding the lives of almost 3 million Dom who live in the Middle East. This is due largely to the closed communities they maintain for themselves.

Today few of the Dom can recount the history of their people. There are many fascinating folk tales of their origins that are still passed from generation to generation. The only written records of their history must be garnered from the annals of kings and ancient historians, which in most cases include only brief references to the Gypsies as opposed to detailed narratives. Dr. Donald Kenrick suggested that the Gypsies might have first moved from India into Persia when Ardashir the Shah of Persia conquered part of India ( modern day Pakistan ) in 227 AD. The need for workers in Persia could have instigated this initial movement.

Approximately 200 years later another factor compelled more Gypsies to leave India for Persia. During the reign of Bahram Gur (420-438 AD), Shah of Persia, many Gypsies were taken from India to Persia to work as musicians and dancers. Later, the Arabs are credited with prompting further westward movement of the Gypsies. According to Dr. Kenrick, "On at least three occasions Zott were sent by the Arab rulers to Antioch, which is right on the Mediterranean coast" (669 AD, 710 AD, and 720 AD). When Antioch was captured by the Greeks in 855 AD further migrations and relocations occurred. Some Zott were sent to Greece while others migrated to Crete only to return to Lebanon and Israel some years later.

Dom people were living on the territory of modern Israel and Palestinian Authority during the time that the Turkish people lived and ruled here.

Century ago they were a readily identifiable group. Known as the Zutt or Nawar (a plural form of the Arabic Nuri), they dressed similarly to their fellow nomads, the Beduin, but they had their own language and distinct customs and social patterns. In the mid-nineteenth century they were a common sight in towns and villages in the Holy Land; they proceeded through the countryside, sometimes with performing animals they would show off in public.

4. DOMARI - THE GYPSY LANGUAGE OF THE MIDDLE EAST

As the Dom migrated into various countries they adopted the language of the host country. It is not uncommon to find Dom who speak two or three different languages, but they generally cannot read or write in these languages. In addition to the language of the host country, they speak some dialect of Domari ( in Israel - Nawari dialect ) within their families and in their communities. Domari is perpetuated strictly by means of oral tradition.

The term "Nawari" is often used as a synonym for Domari; however, Nawari is also a dialect of Domari. Like the Arabic language, Domari has many different dialects. The Arabic language is perhaps the primary factor contributing to the proliferation of dialects in Domari. Within each country of the Middle East and North Africa, Dom people know the local dialect of Arabic ( in Israel - Palestinian dialect of Arabic ). When their native language lacks a word they borrow that term from the Arabic that is spoken in the area, thus regionalizing their own language.

Their rudimentary command of the local language and limited use of written documents has contributed to their political powerlessness. The ability to communicate through writing is a primary tool for modern self-expression and explanation. Knowledge of ones native language is essential for maintaining an ethnic distinctiveness. However, the inability to communicate in written form to outsiders leads to misunderstandings, stereotyping and possibly to harmful prejudice. The Dom people express themselves and their culture through dance and other outwardly visible means. Without the ability to communicate accurately even these positive cultural expressions can be misunderstood and take on negative implications in conservative Middle Eastern societies.

5. RESEARCH OF SCHOLARS ON DOM GYPSIES IN THE HOLY LAND

Research of Dom language in the begining of XX century done by the professor of Celtic archeology at University College in Dublin ( Ireland ) R. A. Stewart Macalister. He came across them in the course of his 9 years of digs under the auspices of the Palestine Exploration Fund. He employed some on his excavation works. In conversation with his foreman, Yusif Khattar, he learned a smattering of Dom language.

Already at this time, in the territory of Palestine this language was in the process of disappearing.
In the continuing of his research Stewart Macalister befriended another Domari Gypsy - Shakir Mahsin

Shakir Mahsin was telling stories and interpreting them in Arabic, which was recorded.
From this source, Macalister constructed a grammar and vocabulary of the language of
the Nawar that was published in 1914 by Edinburgh University Press.
The origin of the Palestinian Gypsy dialect is still disputed among scholars. Macalister said that
it was quite unlike the language of European Turkish Gypsies.

Ya'acov Shimoni, in his Arviyei Eretz Yisrael ( Arabs of the Land of Israel ), published in 1947,
wrote that the Palestinian Gypsies "among themselves speak a special language called in Arabic
aspur, that is, the sound or twitter of the sipor, i.e., bird."

Intrigued by this forgotten language, he consulted a leading expert on linguistics, Professor John A. C. Greppin, of Cleveland State University, who replied to him: "There is no doubt that the Nuri language is a Gypsy dialect and the review ( of Macalister ) by R. Pischel ( who wrote a monumnetal work on the Prakrit dialects of old Indic ) never questions it."


Research of Dom occupations:

Stewart Macalister calls them "nomad smiths" and took photographs of their tent encampment
just north of the Damascus Gate.

Y. Yaniv, in his booklet ( in Hebrew ), The Gypsies in Judea and Jerusalem,
reproduces several early photographs of Palestinian Gypsies, sometimes with
performing animals, including a bear and a monkey.

Ya'acov Shimoni describing their situation in the mandatory period, wrote that the
Nawar "have accepted the Moslem faith but . . . do not care much about religion."

Like Gypsies elsewhere, they were tinkers, coppersmiths and engravers. "But among the
Arabs, they are regarded as thieves," Shimoni added. "Some are dancers and singers;
and they give entertainments such as animal shows in the streets of towns . . . For the
rest, many of them are beggars."

Dom people earned their living by making many things with their hands such as
weaving reed mats. Others were tinkers, played music, sang and danced. Also, the men
were skilled makers of sieves, drums and birdcages. At times there were those who
entertained using animals, especially horses.

6. LIFESTYLE

There are Dom who are sedentary such as those who live in Israel, Lebanon and northern Cyprus. They live in the huts of shantytowns, apartments or homes in cities and villages. Those who are settled have a better opportunity for education and more permanent work; however, many of the men are unable to find work simply because of their ethnic identity. A high rate of illiteracy keeps anything more than day labor out of their reach. In Lebanon a private organization provides literacy training in Classical Arabic for Nawar children in hopes that this training will enable them to go on to vocational training. In Israel another Christian non-profit organization provides literacy and Biblical training in English for Nawar children with the same purpose.
In general, the difficulties of housing, jobs, education and health care keep their lives unbalanced and create
a sense of hopelessness among Domari people.

7. HISTORY OF DOM PEOPLE IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE

What became of these people in XX century ?

- they keep sedentary lifestyle in the Old City of Jerusalem and the West Bank for over 100 years.
- Despised by Arabs and unrecognized by Jews, some left the country during the disturbances of 1936-1939
- During the Israeli-Jordanian war many Dom left Israel and went to Jordan. Others went to various countries
throughout the Middle East such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Turkey and Egypt.

After the foundation of modern Israel:

- In 1953, a British officer, Major Lunt, met a band of Nawar in Jordan and wrote
a report of the encounter in the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society

- Following the 1967 war, Teddy Kollek, as mayor of Jerusalem, recognized the Gypsies
as a distinct community and appointed on of them as a liaison with the municipality.

- In the late 1970's, Yaniv estimated that there were still 300 Gypsies living in East
Jerusalem. By then they were mostly sedentary and seemed to be in an advanced stage
of assimilation

- Today the language and customs of the Nawar have almost vanished, swallowed up by
the surrounding Arab society

Events of Six Day War in June 1967:

Domari people found refuge in the Church of St. Anne. It is located just inside the
Lion's Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem. For the Gypsies the war was like "days in
hell." They have experienced suffering during that time.Those six days were not a
nice time for the Dom.


Domari population in Jerusalem:

- elders relate that until the "Six Day War" in 1967 the Jerusalem tribe comprised more
than two hundred families

- large part fled to Jordan when the battles were at their height, and have not returned
except for short family visits

- in 1993 there were - tribe numbers 70 families, more than 700 people

- in 2000 in and around Jerusalem there are about 1,200 Dom. That number includes
Jerusalem and the West Bank. This is a small population compared with the number
of Dom in the years gone by. In addition to people moving away from the area, there
have been numerous deaths.

The people believe that their lives are tied to living and dying in Jerusalem. At one time
the people would run away from their homes if they feared political problems or wars.
But now, they have begun to believe that they must stand up for their place and protect
their homes. This is a change from the time when the people were nomadic and could
move easily. Today many have settled into houses.


DOM POPULATION IN ISRAEL

Dom communities in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza Strip have total Domari population
between 2 000 and 5 000.

Dom in Gaza:
Relatively isolated from Israeli culture, the Gazan population has retained more traditional gypsy dance
and music than their Jerusalem cousins and regularly provide entertainment at community functions.

Contacts with foreign Roma:

1981 - King of the Gypsies in Belgium visited that community
He regarded us as Gypsies, but very strange ones," they say
There are Muslim Gypsies in Jordan, Syria, Iraq and even Egypt

1993 - the delegation of Gypsies from France and Germany which had come on a
pilgrimage to the Christian Holy Sites in Jerusalem. They found some
similarities in language but the difference in apperance

1999 - delegation of Hungarian Roma which had come to the conference of
an International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. They have presented
the Romani Flag to "The Society of Gypsies in Israel".

8. SETTLEMENT IN JERUSALEM AND THE SURROUNDING AREA

Many years ago the Dom lived in the Wadi Goss area in Jerusalem.
There are some documents that show that they were here at least since 1920.
There are other documents that the leader of the Dom has which show their presence
there many years ago. The chairman of the Society has photographs from the 1920s of
Gypsies, camped in tents outside Jerusalem's Old City.

Interviews with Dom people in Jerusalem done by miss Amoun Sleem - the chairman of our Society.

All the people who were interviewed confirmed that the Dom have lived in or around Jerusalem
for more than 100 years.

Mr. Shahada who now lives in Amman, Jordan. He made a visit to Jerusalem in year 2000.
His family settled in Jerusalem about 100 years ago according to his father.
Unfortunately, he could not remember his grandfather. But he believed that his family
settled in Jerusalem more than 100 years ago. He belonged to the Nawasrah family.
This family is a part of the very old roots of the Dom. He lived in "Malhah" in new
Jerusalem now close to the Jerusalem Zoo.

Many Dom lived there at that time. Before the Turkish armies were in Jerusalem the
Dom lived there and had a comfortable way of life and they came into contact with
many other groups of people.

When the English were here some of the Dom had English passports. Even today some
of the Dom living in Amman still have these passports. At that time they lived in old houses
made from big stones and tents they made by hand. They made their food, their clothes, etc.,
themselves.

He said when Israel was coming into the land they were very afraid. They all began to
think about moving as soon as possible to Amman and about take their children and
families. Many Dom from the Nawasrah family went to Amman. But others of the Dom
stayed and are still living in the same places today. A lot of them said that if they were
going to die it would be better to all die together. The Dom people were worried that
any problems between the countries would be especially difficult for them since they
didn't have any influence politically. Because of this many of the families didn't see one
another for many years being divided by political boundaries. Since they didn't know what
might happen to them if they returned to Jerusalem, they were afraid to return for a visit
with their families who stayed. But now there is peace between Jordan and Israel which
means the time of worry is over and we can visit our families again.

Ninty (90) year old Dom woman named Asesah. She spoken a lot about her present
problems and the troubles in her family. But, she also spoke about the old days when
she had a good husband and she was happy. Her husband was a good man who she had
never met until the night of their wedding. In that time, it was the custom that women
could not see the man she would marry until the wedding night. Once my grandmother
told me something I will never forget. "My young lady, you are very lucky that you were
born in this time. You can say 'no' to a man and you can choose what you like. But in
my time we didn't have any choice." But to go back to Asesah, it was funny and nice
what she had to say. Asesah is one of the women who has lived in many different
circumstances. She said that she grew up with her father and mother within the walls of
the old city of Jerusalem. For about 35 years she lived in the Berge Lack Lack (area)
where her father had a three-room home that he opened to guests, both Dom and other
people. They lived there until she married and moved in with her husband. She married
at a very, very young age. Before the war between Amman and Israel she had four
children. The time during the war was very difficult. All they could think about was
saving themselves and their children. Because the times were so difficult about half of
her family fled to Jordan. "It was a long time after they left before we found out if they
were alive or had been killed." Those who stayed in the city have faced many trying
times. Because of this they will probably stay here until they die. Many Dom still think
of the Holy Land of Jerusalem as their home. Even with the bad times they dream about
this place as their land.

9. DOMARI COMMUNITY IN THE PRESENT-DAY JERUSALEM

Location: Dom people live in their own neighbourhood - the Migdal Ha Chasidah -
within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem

Events: Members of this group, especialy, young generation are currently undergoing a
social and cultural change. They have decided to break with ancient traditions
in order to integrate into the neighbouring Arab community

Attitude of Arabs: The Arab nickname for Muslim Gypsy "Al Navar" is a derogatory
term which conveys failure, poverty and dirt.

Social status of Muslim Gypsies in Jerusalem is very low.

Large families - 10 or more children according to ancient practice so as not to
undermine the continuity of the family.

At all periods the men have worked in menial occupations particularly as cleaners and
servants. Even today the adults work in municipal cleansing services. The men still
forbid their wives and daughters from going out to work.

Perspective: young people study at various schools including High Schools, and soon
there will be Gypsy nurses and a teacher in Jerusalem


Mixed marriages:

Until recently the Gypsies married among themselves. But the young refused to
continue this tradition, and the elders now have to acede to the young. "They tell us that
the girls fall in love and get married to Arabs, while the Gypsy men take Arab wives. In
1993 there were 7 mixed marriages.

P.S. According the observation done by authorities of Dom Community in year 2000
results of those mixed marriages ( Dom - Arab ) were not succesful for both sides.

Preservance of a heritage:

Jerusalem Gypsies have not preserved their traditional music, songs and dances, or so,
at any rate, they contend. Due to the assimilation. They stated that they neither sing nor dance.

Domari in Jordan say that they do have their own folk songs, their own instruments, and
their own special dances which are performed during ceremonies and at celebrations.

In the past: Jerusalemites say that the Gypsies were once famous for their thoroughbred
horses which they kept tethered next to their tents and huts. They had no choice but to
sell them when they took to a settled life

Identity: some of them know that they are originaly from Northern India. They deny
any suggestion of Bedouin origin. The point of departure for their dispersal
throughout the Arab world was thought to be near the city of Aden in the
Yemen

They are dressed like Arab inhabitants of Old Jerusalem, and their language, outside the house
- is an Arabic with a Palestinian accent. They use Arabic script in writing even between themselves.

Traditional garments:

- Kept in the receses of their wardrobes
- women used to wear dresses embroidered with bright coloured threads
- men wore cloaks similar to those of Bedouin

This traditional dress still exists among Gypsy men and women in Jordan. They come to
visit their families in their traditional garb and stroll about the narrow alleyways, to the
chagrin of the young Gypsies who live in Jerusalem. "Now that we have managed to
change our image a little, we no longer wear the clothes which remind our neighbours
of our roots," they say.


Occupations: devoted to astrology, which is an important livelihood for many of them,
the women in particular. Most of the astrologers are now to be found in the refugee
camps in Rabat Aman.

ASSIMILATION TENDENCY

Many gypsies have kept their identity a secret, ashamed of their heritage and fearful of discrimination.

In 80-s Gypsies of Jerusalem have decided:
- to forget their past traditions, without regret
- to leave their present quarter for other districts in Jerusalem in order to break the tradition of the ghetto

In order to:
- merge into the wider Arab society
- escape the curiosity which has dogged them for generations

Events of 90-s showed that:
- during those more than 10 years our standard of living and status of life has not changed
- many people still live without electricity, many do not have indoor plumbing, and many cannot read or write
- an attitude of Arab population toward Dom people did not become better

Attitude of others:
- Dom remain a people apart, shunned by Arabs who look down on them and ignored
by Jews who seem blind to their existence.

"The Jews treat us like Arabs and the Arabs treat us like gypsies, so we get bad treatment from both sides"

Common features remained with other Gypsies:
Retain a common belief in Del (God), beng (the devil), predestiny and family loyalty.

Problems of other ethnic minorities in Israel:

- Beduins, in Israel as in every other country of the Middle East, face immense
pressures to abandon their nomadic life and conform to the norms of civilized society
- The Samaritans, the Circassians and the Karaites also find immense difficulty in
sustaining their distinctiveness. The great steamroller of modernization is flattening
away the collective identity of all these minorities.


Political attitude:

The Dom are a peace loving people. They never think about power and promoting
themselves. Because of this they are not influential outside their community, they don't
involve themselves in wars or political fighting.

10. DOMARI WOMEN

- The role of the Dom women in the community has always been important
- women helped in the fields, made clothes for the family, sheared sheep, spun wool and told fortunes.

After giving up the nomadic life the women continue to work hard both in the home and outside.
Many of them work for other people such as Jewish families doing cleaning or in their shops.

Attitude toward financies:

- None of Dom in Jerusalem have their own businesses
- Domari men still have not learned to save money for the future.

Even if a Dom man had money and a house he would still spend it freely thinking only
about living for the day. The women, however, would like to make the family's life better.

They often go to work at young ages in order to help their families. Because of this many of the young
girls don't go to school so their education level is very low. This in turn creates a situation in which they
are unable to get jobs where advancement is possible. Their lives are very difficult and they feel powerless
to choose what is good for them. In fact, the family promotes the idea that girls should get a job rather than going to school.

In some families this attitude toward the girls is changing. Step by step the life of the Dom woman is improving. They still do not have many of the advantages of other women in the world, but slowly the future is opening up for them. Some have begun going to school and making their own choices about the future they want. They are getting good jobs and gaining the respect of others. Some have professional jobs such as
nurses. In Jerusalem there are three Dom nurses working in different hospitals. Others are models and seamstresses. This change is not easy in a community that largely holds to the belief that a woman's work is in the home. The Dom Community must also respect the changing roles of women in the world so that their women can find their place in the world. We believe that one day this will happen, but for now the change is
slow.

11. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF "DOMARI: THE SOCIETY OF GYPSIES IN ISRAEL"

October 1999 - Establishment of "Domari: The Society of Gypsies in Israel" by miss Amoun Sleem.
Official presentation: November 23, 1999
Society registered as a non-profit organization.
Our attorney: Mr. Omri Kibiri. He represents the law firm - the firm that handles human rights cases.
Leader: Miss Amoun Sleem - 28 years, Domari Gypsy single woman, with a diploma in business
administration from a local Arab college, Amoun Sleem is a rarity in the Domari world, where
most women are home makers and many children drop out of school by the age of 12


The Society exists to:

- promote an educational framework for Dom children and various other community enhancement projects
- to reclaim Gypsy livelihood, its rights, and its culture after decades of poverty, discrimination,
disappearing heritage
- to map out the Israeli Gypsy population
- to help the Israeli Gypsy community help itself, through medical assistance programs
- to help the Gypsies of Israel take back their dignity - to help them start helping themselves
- to promote Dom causes and meet the needs of the Dom people
- to preserve Gypsy culture,
- to ask the Israel's Supreme Court to order authorities to grant Dom people minority group status
- to encourage government funding
- to set up the education facility house in the "Way of the Stork" alley ( Old Jerusalem )

Facilitators: members of the Dom community in Israel, Dom Research Center ( Cyprus ),
KABIRI - NEVO Law Company ( Jerusalem ), Israeli and foreign individuals
concerned about the fate of Gypsy people in Israel

Optional projects:

1. Advancement of education in the Gypsy sector: the creation of learning centers
providing Gypsy students with academic aid. The average school dropout age in the
Gypsy sector is 12. The Center will encourage pupils to stay in school, graduate, and
possibly continue on to higher education.

2. Medical aid to Israel's Gypsies, as well as medical research on specific medical
problems prevalent within, or unique to the ethnic Gypsy population.

3. Advancement of the Gypsy culture: creation of the Center for the Preservation of the
Gypsy Culture. The Center`s personnel will conduct research concerning the Gypsy
existence in Israel, their history, and culture. Additionally, the Center will have cultural
evenings, thereby raising the awareness of the Gypsy culture throughout society.

4. The administration of social care in the form of counseling, etc.

5. Fostering close relations with Gypsies around the world by participation in
international Gypsy conferences and the hosting of Gypsies from abroad in Israel.


Achieved during October 1999 - February 2001:

The plight of the Gypsies in Israel was brought to the attention of members in the Israeli and International community through mass-media and Intenet.

Following important people have contributed to our Society:
- Mrs. Anat Hoffman, member of the Jerusalem city council
- Mrs. Kathleen Katz, who has spent years studying the Roma in Hungary,
- members of the national and international press.

The reaction of the Israeli ( Jewish and Arab ) community was mostly
indifferent since November 1999. But there were and there are always individuals who are
concerned about both Dom and Roma living in Israel. Each week we meet
( or personaly , or by mailing and e-mailing Network, through mass-media ) someone
who is interested to support us and to keep connections with our Society.

The international reaction was much better and we have a lot of friends
among international Romani and non-Romani NGO and individuals.
We do appreciate our connections with The International Romani Union,
RomNews Network, Dzeno-Gendalos and Mr. Ian Hancock.

Attitude of Dom people toward the activity of "The Socity of Gypsies in Israel":
Apathy, lack of exposure and doubts amongst those people as other obstacles.
"Even people in the community are not so sure this can work. It is hard for them to
believe they have a future" - chairman Amoun Sleem.

The foundation of the Domari Society in Israel is also known to some Domari in Jordan.
One of them is working on Jordanian TV in Amman.

12. DOMARI PROBLEMS

- Insufficient medical care
- No means to provide basic education for children
- blatant discrimination by the people amongst whom they live
- most Dom struggle to pay their rent and often have trouble with landlords who may
put them out even if they do pay their rent. Since the Dom are passive people they
are often the victims of such actions.

EDUCATION

Many of the Gypsy children do not attend school because:

- they are discriminated against by the teachers and other students
- many are ashamed to go to school because they do not have clothes or books and school
supplies like the other children
If the children were to attend school, they would be able to get better jobs and raise
their standard of living


HEALTH CARE

Health care is another concern of our organization

- We need to teach the women how to care for the health of their children and family
- We need to look at how we can help the disabled in our community

Currently there is no health care available in our community.

With the activity of our organization we want to give hope to Gypsy people in Israel.

13. BUDGET

The organization has only $10,000, contributed primarily by one sympathetic overseas donor -
Dom Research Center. It`s primary focus are projects of medical and social service centres.
Progress has been by small steps.

14. SOCIETY PUBLICATIONS

Since November 1999 we release e-mail newsletter once in three - four weeks
concerning the situation Gypsy people in Israel and other countries of the world.

15. POLITICAL EDUCATION

There is no need in the political education for Dom adults since Dom tradition
is against the participation of Gypsy people in the affairs of non-Gypsies.
The perspective of political education for Dom children and youth is not supported
our Society for the following reasons:
- coplicated political situation in Arab and Jewish communities of Israel
- traditional negative attitude toward political life among Dom people
- danger of problems which can occur if Dom people would start participate in the political events
- political education is not the concern of our Society

16. BASIC EDUCATION

There are many Dom children who are still spend their time on a street instead of going
to school. First of all, there are economical reasons for that. Second, the attitude of their
parents has to change and become positive.

25 Dom children already are studying at a Christian Sunday school once a week. As better
results would be - the better attitude Dom parents would have concerning the idea about the
basic school education of their children as a nessesary condition to improve their lives in the future.
But the progress of a basic education also depends from the improvement of the social status of
Dom families.

17. MIGRATION

Present time there is no question about the migration among Dom Gypsies.
However, situation somehow similar to Kosovo have happened in 1948
and 1967 when thousands of them had to flee from Israeli Army together with
other Palestinian refugees to neighbouring Jordan.

18. KOSOVO

Our opinion: IRU should urge all states, who accepted Kosovo Roma refugees
not to send them back as long as they can not be sure of their lives and international
institutions to specially protect the Roma still living there now.

19. HOLOCAUST RECOMPENSATION

Our opinion: the most urging and important way to spend Parajmos recompensation
is to spend those financies for Romani educational institutions.


*  then under the pen-name "Ariel Eliyahu"

ENDNOTES:

The Article was first published by Dom Research Center: http://www.domresearchcenter.com/news/israel/isra6.html

The report was written on 16. 02.2001 by Mr. Ariel Eliyahu (Valery Novoselsky)
(official representative of an International Romani Union in Israel)
for the IRU Parliament meeting in March 2001 in Slovakia.

The report was confirmed by the board of "The Society of Gyspies in Israel"
on the meeting 21.02.2001 in the Municipality of Jerusalem.

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