#AceNewsReport – SPAIN:June.12: The Spanish government is correcting “a historic mistake,” as the nation passes a new law looking to become home to the descendants of many Jews, who were exiled, burned at the stake or forcefully converted in 1492, during the Spanish Inquisition.
The bill, which comes into force in October, will give citizenship to thousands across the globe with Jewish ancestry, known as Sephardic Jews, provided they can prove their ancestry.
The new law passed on Thursday was greatly anticipated by the descendants of many Jews, who suffered at the hands of the Spanish.
Under the previous law of 1924, the government would grant them Spanish citizenship on two conditions: that they were residents of Spain and that they gave up their previous citizenship. The new law will bring these applicants’ privileges in line with those enjoyed by Spain’s former colonies, as well as Portugal and Andorra.
“This law says much about who we were in the past and who we are today and what we want to be in the future, an open, diverse and tolerant Spain,” Justice Minister Rafael Catala said, before the document’s approval, according to AFP.
The law has had the backing of two of Spain’s major political parties and has been approved by all. The one criticism leveled at the bill came from an opposition party, which took issue with the fact that it’s only Jews and not, for example, citizens of abandoned former colonies, such as Western Sahara, which hasn’t been Spanish since 1976.
Government officials estimate the number of those that meet the new criteria to be around 90,000, though they’ve stopped short of issuing concrete estimates, as there’s no precise way to tell.
Global Sephardic groups themselves believe those who could benefit could amount to 3.5 million, according to El Pais.