B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith welcomes a new Spanish law that would allow descendants of Sephardic Jews to apply for citizenship.
This is an important gesture acknowledging not only the expulsion of Jews from 15th Century Spain, but also the importance of Jewish heritage to the country’s history.
In recent years, the Spanish foreign ministry has established Casa Sefarad to promote Sephardic Jewish culture worldwide. The organization describes itself as “a bridge between Spain and the Jewish world,” and has run important cross-cultural programs.
Citizenship will not be awarded automatically. Applicants will have to certify their Sephardic ancestry during the online application process, and will have to pass language and history proficiency tests. The law will allow applicants to retain their current country of citizenship.
We are pleased that Spain’s Jewish community will be involved in the process of vetting applications, as their participation can be helpful in optimizing the law’s implementation.
Click here to read B’nai B’rith’s analysis of this topic from May:
Click here to read “The Jews of Spain” from the winter 2014 issue of B’nai B’rith Magazine: http://www.bnaibrith.org/magazine-articles/the-jews-of-spain-once-many-now-few-and-under-the-radar