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Spain citizenship offer attracts Sephardic Jews in Israel

Israelis are showing great interest in Madrid’s moves to grant dual nationality status to the descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492.

So-called Sephardic Jews make up around a quarter of Israel’s population.

Many Israelis welcome the planned legislation as righting a wrong. For others, it is too little too late.

“The time has come after 500 years for descendants to receive a little something and it is really a change for the better in the world for Jews overall,” said one Jerusalem resident who gave his name only as Reiner.

Around 300,000 Jews lived in Spain before the Catholic monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand, ordered Jews and Muslims to convert to the Catholic faith or leave the country.

Amending an existing offer of citizenship, this bill would allow Sephardic Jews to keep their current passports as well as becoming Spanish.

Spain’s embassy in Israel says it has had “many” inquiries from potential applicants.

“The next stage will be how you achieve the citizenship, when you declare, how you declare, what documents you have to submit, which authority, which state will deal with the affair?” said Abraham Haim, the head of the Council of the Sephardic Community in Jerusalem.

The law, which still needs parliamentary approval, would potentially allow 3.5 million residents of countries where Sephardic Jews eventually settled, like Israel, France, the US and Turkey, to apply for Spanish nationality.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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