Menu JTA Search

4,500 Italian Jews Baptized in Year; Greatest Mass Conversion Since Inquisition

Italian racial legislation has stimulated the greatest mass conversion of Jews since the Spanish Inquisition, it was disclosed here today. Official statistics revealed that 4,500 Jews, representing more than ten per cent of the entire Jewish population in Italy, have embraced Christianity in the past year.

Recent legislation favoring converted Jews compared to those adhering to their religion has greatly influenced the number of proselytes, who hope to benefit from future laws and agreements between the State and the Vatican. Other factors involved in the wave of conversions are the possibility of sending children to Catholic schools and emigration facilities to Latin America, where many countries, while restricting Jewish immigration, admit proselytes.