Spain Approves Bill Granting Citizenship to Sephardic Jews

Applicants must be vetted by Spanish Federation of Jewish Communities or by local rabbis, pass culture test to win citizenship.

If you can trace your ancestry to Toledo, you could eligible to Spanish citizenship.
If you can trace your ancestry to Toledo, you could eligible to Spanish citizenship.Credit: josh Nathan-Kazis / The Forward

Spain's cabinet has approved a bill allowing descendants of Jews forced into exile centuries ago the right to dual citizenship.

Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria says Sephardic Jews must have their heritage vetted by the Spanish Federation of Jewish Communities or by rabbis where they live. Applicants will also have to pass a Spanish culture test.

The plan approved Friday is aimed at righting what the government calls a "historic mistake" in sending Jews into exile starting in 1492, forcing them to convert to Catholicism and burning them at the stake during the Inquisition.

The reform will allow dual nationality, enabling the newly minted Spaniards to retain their previous citizenship. Spain currently grants that privilege only to Latin Americans.

It is expected to pass easily in Parliament.

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