Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jerusalem's gypsies struggle for recognition

Originally posted by the Alternative Information Center at

Jerusalem's Domari (also known as Romani or Gypsy) have lived in historic Palestine for over 500 years. Many fled during the 1967 War, ending up in refugee camps, and the community now numbers 60 to 70 families. Palestinian Romanis face a slew of social issues, including poverty, high illiteracy rates, and racism from both Israelis and Palestinians. 

Amoun Sleem, a member of Jerusalem's Domari community, and the founder of the Domari Society of Gypsies in Jerusalem (photo: Sixty Years, Sixty Voices)

Amoun Sleem founded the Domari Society of Gypsies in Jerusalem in 2000 in hopes of reviving local Domari life. The center also offers literacy courses. 

In this short documentary, Sleem and other members of the community discuss the history of Palestine's gypsies and the difficulties they face today. "The Arabs don't consider us part of them," one woman says. "The Jews consider us to be Arabs." She adds that when Israeli forces demolished a Domari home soon after the 1967 War, "no one said a word."

~ reposted by Sofia Smith

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