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"DOMARI: The Society of Gypsies in Israel"

Posted on

January 2000

It is our honor to introduce DOMARI: The Society of Gypsies in Israel. Yes, the Gypsy community in Israel, after decades of dire poverty, discrimination, and disappearing heritage, has decided to reclaim its livelihood, its rights, and its culture.

Ms. Sleem has seen the plight of her fellow Gypsies all around her: insufficient medical care; no means whatsoever to provide even the basic education which would allow the Gypsy language (Dom) to be passed down to the next generation; blatant discrimination by the people amongst whom they live. Ms. Sleem has succeeded in bringing the plight of the Gypsies in Israel to the attention of important members in the Israeli and international community, who have lent a hand in the establishment of the society, such as: Anat Hoffman, member of the Jerusalem city council, Ms. Kathleen Katz, who has spent years studying the Gypsies in Europe, and members of the national and
international press.

However, Ms. Sleem’s vision of establishing a Society of Gypsies in Israel is not easy to fulfill. Even before real action can begin, the required registration of this society (which is, of course, a non-profit society) in the office of the Registrar of Societies costs hundreds of dollars. In addition, a “census” of sorts must be taken to map out the Israeli Gypsy population -- this too is a costly venture. And then, of course, the funding needed to begin to help the Israeli Gypsy community help itself, through medical assistance programs, the building of an educational framework, and much more.

Thus we are turning to you, people sympathetic to the Gypsy cause, who might be willing to heed the call for assistance. Your generosity will do much good: you have the power to help the Gypsies of Israel take back their dignity -- to help them start helping themselves.

In order to ensure that much needed money successfully reaches its right destination, an independent trust has been created for the non-profit DOMARI Society. The partners of the law firm (the firm that handles human rights cases), are the society’s trustees. For more information about the society as well as matters concerning donations
towards the projects listed in this letter, please, contact Miss Amoun Sleem.

Please donate, by means of bank transferral, to account:
Kabiri, Nevo, Keidar, trust for the Gypsy Society
Account number 11-132-229903
Israel Discount Bank (bank number 11)
branch number 132, 6 Agnon Street
Jerusalem, Israel

Your donation will advance the following projects:

1. The 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. The advancement of the Gypsy culture. This will be achieved through the 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 some 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.

Together, we will see the establishment of a Gypsy Society in Israel which will protect the rights of the Gypsies in Israel and advance their cause.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of each individual author. The views and opinions do not represent those held by the Dom Research Center.

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