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June 7, 2014 1:00 pm

Spain Takes Another Step to Grant Citizenship to Sephardic Jews

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National Library of Spain. Photo:

JNS.orgThe Spanish government has taken another step in approving legislation aimed at granting citizenship to Sephardic Jews who were expelled nearly 500 years ago during the Spanish Inquisition.

Spain’s Council of Ministers approved the draft legislation on Friday, which set forth the criteria for citizenship, the Spanish dailyEl Pais reported.

The criterion includes a Spanish culture test as well as having prospective citizens’ heritage checked by the Spanish Federation of Jewish Communities or rabbis in their local Jewish community.

The next step for the legislation to become law is approval by Spain’s parliament, which is controlled by the country’s conservative People’s Party. That party strongly supports the bill.

Spanish Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon first introduced the legislation in early February. Gallardon said at the time that the bill would repair “one of the most significant errors” in Spanish history.

“With this gesture Spain is doing justice and fixing the mistake that led to the expulsion of the Jews,” the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain said in a statement.

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