Sunday, November 25, 2012
Sephardim can get automatic Spanish nationality
The Alhambra expulsion document of 1492
Update: according to this New York Times article, applicants must renounce their existing nationality: this will make acquiring Spanish nationality less attractive.
Five hundred years after their expulsion, Sephardi Jews can now acquire automatic Spanish nationality without living in the country for two years, the Spanish government has announced. It is not clear to whom the measure is intended to appeal, although there are Sephardi Jews (some still Ladino-speaking) across Latin America. However, just as Israelis of Eastern European ancestry have been queuing up to acquire Polish and Rumanian passports, it now becomes possible for those Israelis of North African origin who can trace their ancestry to the megorashim fleeing the Spanish Inquisition to live, study and work in the EU. (With thanks Lily; Michelle)
Spain has announced that it will ease the naturalization of Sephardic Jews whose ancestors were expelled 500 years ago.
Sephardic Jews already benefit from a preferential naturalization procedure that requires them to live in Spain for only two years before claiming citizenship. But the change, which was announced on Thursday, means that Jews will have to present only a certificate confirming their ancestry to claim a Spanish passport.
The Federation of the Jewish Communities of Spain, an umbrella body, congratulated the government for “recognition of a right which does not depend on any government decree.”
In its statement, the organization added that the announcement needs to “culminate in a legal text that will specify the conditions to be met to assume nationality.”
The government did not say how many Jews it expected to apply for citizenship, but it noted that a large number of Sephardic Jews lived in Turkey and across Latin America.
While estimates differ, the number of Jews living in Spain - 25, 000 to 45, 000 people out of a total population of 47 million - is only a fraction of the number who lived in the country before 1492, when Jews were forced to convert to Christianity or go into exile.
El Mundo reports: (translation from Facebook):
"Our relations have not been broken ever, not have never forgotten, have both been more intense the more tolerant, dialogical and democratic Spain has been," said (the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo).
According to Margallo, another objective of the instruction is "recovering the memory of the silenced Spain during long ago" and culminating towards "land and freedom" of the Spaniards "yearn for Sefarad" who live in the diaspora.
For (Minister of Justice Alberto-Ruiz) Gallardon, this statement is that of the "reunion" and is addressed to all "those who have been unjustly deprived of their nationality and have been recreated through affection a Spain that never resigned to losing and that from now on is as theirs as ours, in regards to the right".
The President of the Federation of the Jewish communities, Isaac Querub, who has had a memory for those Jews who were expelled from Spain in the 15th century and their descendants, who today, after 520 years of "nostalgia" and "yearning" in the land of their parents, they will gain access to Spanish nationality "are in place that are" has also participated in the Act.
Cherub has highlighted the "unequivocal willingness" of the Government and has moved its appreciation to justice and Foreign Ministers for this commitment that "will culminate in legislative form that matches" and allow the Sephardim feel ""fully Spanish in rights and duties.
As well as on March 31, 1492, the date of the signing of the edict of expulsion of the Jews of Castile and Aragon, was, according to Cherub, a day of darkness and obscurity, the legal provision "of return" announced today will make that this day "go down in history as a day of blue sky and intense luminosity for Spain".