Spain advances citizenship for Sephardic Jews

The flag of Spain. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( The Spanish government has taken another step in approving legislation aimed at granting citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews who were expelled nearly 500 years ago during the Spanish Inquisition.

Spain’s Council of Ministers on Friday approved the draft legislation, which set forth the criteria for citizenship, the Spanish daily El Pais reported. 

The criterion includes a Spanish culture test as well as having prospective citizens’ heritage checked by the Spanish Federation of Jewish Communities or rabbis in their local Jewish community. 

The next step for the legislation to become law is approval by Spain’s parliament, which is controlled by the country’s conservative People’s Party. That party strongly supports the bill.

Spanish Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon first introduced the legislation in early February. Gallardon said at the time that the bill would repair “one of the most significant errors” in Spanish history.

“With this gesture Spain is doing justice and fixing the mistake that led to the expulsion of the Jews,” the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain said in a statement. 

Posted on June 6, 2014 .