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March 27, 2015 10:10 am

Spain Moves Closer to Granting Citizenship to Sephardic Jews

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The National Library of Spain. Spain is getting closer to granting citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled during the inquisition. Photo: madridailyphoto.blogspot.com.

JNS.org – Spain has moved closer to approving legislation aimed at granting citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews who were expelled during the Spanish Inquisition.

On Wednesday evening, the Spanish parliament approved the law, which will now head to the Spanish senate for consideration. The law is expected to go into effect in May, with the citizenship-application process beginning at the end of 2015.

According to the draft law, the applicants would first need to prove their Sephardic background through either their local Jewish community or a direct family link. Authorities also may accept applicants with a Sephardic surname or the ability to speak Ladino, the Spanish-Hebrew hybrid language. Next, the applicants would need to show a special connection to Spain such as speaking Spanish, in addition to taking a basic test about the country.

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

The Spanish government estimates that about 90,000 people of Sephardic heritage will apply for citizenship, which will give them the right to live, work, and travel throughout the European Union, theFinancial Times reported. But the government expects that most applicants for citizenship won’t actually live in Spain, but will instead use a Spanish passport as a secondary one.

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  • Jose Maria

    This whole thing is not about “Spain finally understanding” I don’t know what. This is about money. The money that every person who wants to get the citizenship will have to spend in getting countless official certified documents, and in taking exams (yes, they’ll have to take and pass a Spanish languages test too). The money that will most likely go to certain pockets, very few ones, from both sides. If you really thing that the far-right Spanish government and the ex-king, known as “the commissioner” and known also for his tight business relationships with Arab chiefs, have suddenly develop a sincere appreciation of Spain’s multicultural past, you’re way beyond naïve.

  • Julian Clovelley

    What the Spanish people have displayed on many occasions is a desire to break with the power of Roman Catholicism. The Inquisition – whose real scale remains a subject of research = was one such instance. The Papacy worked through Spain to try to stem the rise of Protestantism, including ensuring that Armadas launched against the England of Elizabeth I had dungeons on them that contained the torture implements of the Inquisition, and included in their passengers officers whose job was to interrogate and torture captured English Protestants

    The elected Republican Government of the thirties was destroyed by Franco’s Fascist Army which launched its attack from North Africa using Arab troops. The Republican Government fell and thousands were slaughtered because, as in Italy and Germany, the Vatican stood aside, or actively supported, the Fascists

    The Vatican hasn’t changed. It displays its true nature through the beatification of Spanish Fascists. The Vatican hates democracy and always has. What it seeks – even in its opposition to communism – is really only its own hierarchic power. We see this poignantly at the moment in Australia where our present Catholic dominated regime pursues its office in the most autocratic of manners, lying and breaking promises, increasing internet surveillance to collect every users metadata, and placing refugees in privately run concentration camps offshore

    The present attempts of modern Spain to be better reconciled with a truly awful history are to be commended – but at the same time they have yet to grasp the full scale of the problem. This isn’t just about how Jews were treated, it is about the universal appalling treatment of the Spanish people and the people of their Empire, over centuries – treatment that was sometimes inspired by the Roman Catholic Church, and sometimes supported by them.

    Unwinding Fascism in Spain is a task still in hand. After Franco Fascism sought to establish a halfway position by re-establishing the monarchy and retaining the Fascists memorials – including Franco’s elaborate tomb. The message to Jewish people in Europe could not be clearer – and American Zionists need to wake up to themselves. The Conservative Right is the backdoor through which Fascism supported by reactionary elements in Catholicism enter. The Zionist attacks on the Left attempt to destroy a support base that should in fact be cultivated and treasured because that historically has always been the defence against a Fascist Reich. It still is.

    Were the Left sufficiently disempowered – you’re next – if history follows its usual course

    Which it seems to be so doing at the moment

  • Julian Clovelley

    Someone hasn’t done their maths – the actual number of descendants is astronomical and they would be found throughout Europe and the Americas. The suggestion of a mere 90,000 is mathematically ridiculous the real figures would be more than the population of Europe

    The standard applied to define those with a “Right” to apply is ridiculous.

    Since a Spanish citizen has a right to an EU passport I can’t see the other nations of Europe accepting it. The UK for a start would not likely accept such a backdoor into Britain for what might otherwise be considered illegal migrants

    I know this may give some Jewish people a bit of a shock, but fully accepting how awful much of Jewish history has been I think we need it to be accepted that most of us – when we pursue it – have had a crap history. My family had over a century of poverty, lost infants to poor health services, lost family members in the Great War and can trace themselves along at least one line to Huguenot refugees

    I cant see Belgium “giving us anything back” as descendants

    Get real. This is not an act of contrition. It’s a scam.

  • American

    Will Israel now give citizenship to the Palestinians forced to flee their homes in 1948?

  • dante

    spain, the murderer of the Jews, their rapist, their plunderer, their dispossessor. so, now, after 500 years, when spain is a third-rate power, poised to be fall under muslim sway (the Muslims were, also, horribly treated by spain), spain might allow descendants of its victims to claim citizenship. have I got that right?

    any Jew considering such an offer should bear in mind that spain, with very few Jews, is virulently anti-Semitic; the spanish press is replete with grotesque and vile slanders, playing off savage anti-Semitic tropes, against Israel. oh, spain, is a real treat…every perceived trespass against an arab is treated is a major event calling for the denunciation of Israel and occasioning demands for its destruction.

    just read a tour book of spain, written in the early part of the 20th century. in it, there was a description of a custom, on a certain day during ‘holy week,’ for housewives go their balconies above the streets, bang their pots and pans, and call for the slaughter of the Jews. charming people.

    spain is a real treat.

    • Gian

      Get your facts right, ‘dante’ you wrote :”spain, the murderer of the Jews, their rapist, their plunderer, their dispossessor”. Maybe you forgot who betrayed and enslaved the Spanish and who exploited them for a good 850 years, together with the moslems.
      Anybody who debates anything about the Jews gets labelled anti-semitic. A people that thinks they can do no wrong and thinks they are above everyone else is inherently racist. And have a look at who is currently doing what, to the Arabs and moslems.

  • Given the present Spanish economy the main use of a Spanish passport will be the right to live and work any where in the 28 European Union countries. During WW2 Spain saved up to about 40,000 Jews whom they refused to hand over to the Germans. Curiously the Spanish, Italians and Japanese were allies of Germany but refused to take part in attacking Jews.

  • “Spain” Do you Mean 50 million Conversos

    “Spain” not including Catalonia Do you Mean 50 million Conversos can now move to the Iberian peninsula and claim it as the Second Israeli state?

    Any Conversos should move to Israel directly or why not start our own Nations in Latin America, Iberia and Italy.