Friday, June 12, 2015

Spain's Parliament Passes Law Allowing Non-Resident Sephardic Jews To Apply For Citizenship

The Wall Street Journal  and AP report that Spain's legislature yesterday gave final approval to a bill that will allow Sephardic Jews-- descendants of those expelled in 1492-- to apply for Spanish citizenship without requiring they live in Spain or give up their current citizenship elsewhere.  This follows a similar step by Portugal earlier this year.  Under Spain's new law, applicants will be required to show basic Spanish language ability, pass the same test on current events and Spanish culture as other citizenship applicants, and prove a current link to Spain such as donating to a Spanish charity or owning Spanish property. Sephardic Jews will have a 3-year window beginning in October to apply for a Spanish passport.  This will give them the right to live and work anywhere in the 28-nation European Union.  While the bill was debated in Parliament, two small leftist parties offered an amendment that would have extended it to Moriscos-- descendants of the Muslim Moors who were forced to convert to Christianity in 1502 under threat of exile or death and who were then expelled from Spain in 1609. (Background.) That amendment was defeated. [Thanks to Tom Rutledge for the lead.]