Spain’s Jewish community congratulated the government for approving a bill proposing to facilitate the naturalization of Sephardic Jews of Spanish descent.

On Friday, Spain’s government approved the bill, which was filed last month by the ruling Popular Party and proposes to amend previous legislation that allowed for granting citizenship to Sephardic Jews who chose to apply for it.

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Spain’s Federation of Jewish Communities, of FCJE, said in a statement Friday that it welcomed the move. “Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon has kept his word,” FCJE wrote in the statement.

The bill proposes to allow dual nationality, enabling people who can prove Sephardic ancestry to also retain their other citizenships. Reports about the bill did not say when it would go up for a vote by lawmakers of Spain’s Congress of Deputies.

Spain already granted citizenship to individuals who applied based on previous naturalization laws for Sephardic Jews, but had no procedure in place to process such requests, the Terra Espana news site reported Friday.

Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said the measure smooths the bureaucracy involved in obtaining Spanish citizenship. Applicants must be vetted by the government and FCJE.

Gallardon announced his intention to introduce new legislation in November 2012. His party, the Popular Party, introduced the bill in December 2013, after Portugal passed its own law of Jewish return in July.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews fled Spain and Portugal during the 15th and 16th centuries, when they were persecuted by the Catholic church and the royal houses of both countries.

Last month, the initiator of the Portuguese law, lawmaker Jose Ribeiro e Castro, urged the government to draft regulations to allow its implementation. Portuguese law gives the government 90 days to draft regulations for laws passed, but this did not happen in the case of Portugal’s law of return, the Lusa news agency reported on Jan. 20.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Sure. Meanwhile, a regional president from the same party said "he doesn't want Spain to become a 'Jewish market' where everyone just looks after own interests". Too late and too lame.

  2. overdue for a long time-not to mention the large amounts of money the Spanish Jews will bring in to help bolster the bad economic situation and when one considers 450'000 Muslims who contribute very little except trouble -Jews will do a lot of good

  3. It now seems that after 522 years, Spain is trying to make amends.

    BLIND VISION, the epic historical novel by the award winning best selling author, Vivian Jeanette Kaplan, is now available on Amazon. It is the story of the Inquisition in Spain and the expulsion of the Jews and Secret or Crypto-Jews from there in 1492, of their descendants living today, many in secrecy. They call themselves B'nei Anousim (Hebrew for sons of those forced to convert – Marrano means "filthy pig" in Spanish and should never be used. It was the extremely derogatory word used by the Spaniards to refer to the Conversos in the 15th century and unfortunately is commonplace today). It also finally uncovers the involvement and true identity, beyond any reasonable doubt, of Christopher Columbus who left Spain with his three ships on his voyage to the New World, on the exact same day of expulsion, with several Jews aboard.

    The title BLIND VISION comes from the impassioned plea of one of most famous Court Jews of the time, Don Isaac Abravanel, Chief Royal Tax Collector of Spain, to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, to stop their planned Edict of Expulsion. Rabbi Don Abraham Seneor, Chief Rabbi of Spain, was at his side. In his speech, Don Isaac said "For generations to come it will be told and retold how unkind was your faith and how blind was your vision".

    Maybe Spain has finally got the message.

  4. I write to convey my appreciation for your explanation write up for this post as I am of the firm believe that not only Spain but also Portugal and Western Europe need to offer a public apology for the way Jews were treated by their Govts Jews have been model citizens -contributed to their country's economy-peaceful and great philanthrophists-the treatment is shocking Yes I will certainly buy a copy of the book Blind Vision as soon as it is available in my country–India

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