Banished from Spain in 1492, Sephardic Jews around the world may finally be seeing some indemnification. A newly proposed bill would make it possible for Jews with Spanish ancestry to acquire a Spanish passport without canceling their current citizenship. Pop the manischewitz! Or the sangria, rather. The Financial Times has the story:
Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, the Spanish justice minister, said the move was an attempt to address the 1492 expulsions, which he described as one of Spain’s “most important historical errors”.
“Now they have an open door to become once again what they should have never stopped being – citizens of Spain,” he added. [...]
Those wishing to obtain Spanish citizenship would be required to prove their status by way of a certificate issued by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain or the rabbinical authority in their home country
Before the 1492 expulsion, an estimated 200,000 Jews made up the Sephardic community in Spain. Today, the 3.5 million who make up the diaspora reside mainly in Israel, with small pockets in Turkey, the United States, Latin America and parts of Europe.
The proposed bill still awaits approval from Spanish parliament before it can come into effect, and even if it does, applicants must apply within two years of its enactment to be eligible for citizenship—a sort of limited-time offer.
Even so, Spain’s decision comes as heartening news. Europe has experienced an alarming amount of anti-semitism in recent years. With bigotry on the rise, it’s good to see the Spanish government making positive moves in the other direction.