Draft Citizenship Legislation To Benefit Descendants Of Spanish Jews

By ExpatBriefing.com Editorial 14 February, 2014

Descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 will be given a fast-track to Spanish citizenship and will no longer have to renounce their current nationality under a draft amendment currently before the country's legislature.

Sephardi Jews have been entitled to Spanish citizenship since 1924, although applicants currently have to reside in Spain for two years first and give up foreign citizenship. The Spanish Government announced plans to speed up the process and allow dual citizenship in November 2012, although there were complaints a few months later that nothing had been done.

The current form of the draft legislation, which may be amended in the months ahead, says that applicants will be able to prove their ancestry by presenting a certificate from the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain or from a "recognized rabbinical authority" overseas. Other criteria include surnames and "family language," a reference to Ladino (also known as Judeo-Spanish).

However, the Federation has in the meantime issued a statement confirming that it does not currently have the power to issue certificates.

Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said that the amendment would correct one of Spain's "most important historical errors" and reflect "the reality of Spain as an open and plural society."

Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 by the Alhambra Decree, at the behest of the Spanish Inquisition. Right of residence for non-Catholics was restored from 1869, and the edict of expulsion was officially repealed in 1968. However, in 2012 the Anti-Defamation League claimed that anti-Semitism in Spain is "literally off-the-charts" following a survey of attitudes in the country.

Tags: Spain | Expats | Immigration | Immigration |


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