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New Spanish Law Would Give Sephardic Jews Dual Citizenship

If passed, the bill would allow 3.5 million Sephardic Jews to claim citizenship

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Shlomo Moshe Amar, the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, during his visit to Granada's Alhambra on May 31, 2011, the first ever official visit by a Jewish religious leader to the Alhambra since an eviction decree against Spanish Jews was signed in 1492. (Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

Spain called, it wants its Jews back. But really. A proposed new law, which is awaiting approval from the Spanish parliament, would allow descendants of Sephardic Jews who were expelled in 1492 during the Spanish Inquisition to seek dual Spanish nationality. Slate reports that the bill amends a 2012 initiative which granted Spanish citizenship to some eligible Sephardic Jews, but on the condition that they relinquish their citizenships in other countries.

According to the Financial Times, 3.5 million Sephardic Jews would be entitled to claim Spanish citizenship under the new law. This offer of dual citizenship is quite rare, with Spanish Law previously only permitting people from neighboring Andorra and Portugal or former colonies in Latin America to obtain dual citizenship.

Spanish Justice Minster Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón said that applicants do not have to be Jewish, emphasizing that anyone of Spanish heritage would be able to apply for dual citizenship under the new law. Still, with Spain’s once-thriving Jewish community now numbering at less than 50,000 people—one of the smallest Jewish communities in the European Union—this gesture will likely have the largest impact on Jews of Spanish descent, both symbolically and practically.

Will you be applying for Spanish citizenship if the law passes?

Previous: Crypto-Jews Light Up Spanish Inquisition Prison
Related: Reporter Digs Up Converso Past
Cooking Up Spain’s Jewish Past

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New Spanish Law Would Give Sephardic Jews Dual Citizenship

If passed, the bill would allow 3.5 million Sephardic Jews to claim citizenship

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