Photo Credit: Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, Spain
'The Tribunal of the Inquisition' by Francisco de Goya

Spain’s Justice Ministry on Tuesday announced it had closed the four-year application period for descendants of Sephardic Jews to become Spanish citizens again.

The Alhambra Decree, issued on March 31, 1492 by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, ordered the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon and its territories by July 31, 1491 (just two days ahead of that year’s 9 B’Av).

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On July 30 of that year, the entire Jewish community, some 200,000 men, women and children, were expelled from Spain.

The edict was formally and symbolically revoked on December 16, 1968, following the Second Vatican Council.

Spain later issued this new decree: “With the intention to amend the actions carried out by Spain in 1492 that expelled Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, the Spanish Government approved on June of 2015 an act that granted the Spanish citizenship to the descendants of those who were kicked out.” That law, which was set to last until October 1, 2018, was recently extended until October 1, 2019.

A whopping 132,226 Jews have taken advantage of the four-year repatriation program to apply for a Spanish citizenship at the ridiculous price of 100 euro. They had to present proof of their Sephardic background by presenting a valid certification of their knowledge of the culture and history of Spain; or pass a test of their Ladino language skills; or show proof of their belonging to the protected Sephardic families of Spain, or of a direct ancestry of any Spanish citizen; or carry out charitable, cultural or economic activities that go in favor of Spanish institutions or citizens; or any other circumstance that can demonstrate a clear belonging to Spain.

They also had to pass two exams to get their Sephardic Citizenship in Spain, and show proof of Sephardic status – certification from the President of the Jewish community from one’s birth or the residential area; and or certification provided by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain; and or certification from the Rabbinic authority, a document which must be legally recognized in the residence country.

The program has netted the Spanish coffers about $14.5 million in application fees, which, when added to the stupefying loot from those 200,000 Jewish exiles, has proven to be a solid economic endeavor. Now, presumably, each one of the new Jews would shell out about $35 for a new passport, and they will each most likely buy a sandwich and a beverage while waiting on-line.

What can we say? Mazal tov, and, well, good-bye?

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.