Spanish Jewish Leader Sees New Draft Law Aiding His People

A new draft law introduced in the Spanish Parliament, legalizing the status of non-Catholic religions in this country, was hailed here today by Max Mazin, president of the Jewish Community of Spain, as a move important not only to Spain but to the Jewish people in this country as well. His statement, issued by the Spanish Foreign Ministry, declared:

“This new law is important for Spain and its Jewish people, in view of the fact that it would establish conditions now generally accepted throughout the whole world. The fact that such conditions have not already been introduced in Spain may be attributed to the problem’s unimportance, from a numerical viewpoint, due to the relative insignificance of non-Catholic minorities which amount to about 50,000 persons, in Spain’s total population of more than 33 million.”

Mr. Mazin estimated that the Spanish Jews who reside in the country total about 7,000, of which 3,000 live in Barcelona, 2,000 in Madrid, 1,700 in Melilla, and between 200 and 300 in Ceuta. The Jews have a synagogue in each of those cities, as well as in towns in Ceuta and Melilla.

“Though I am not yet familiar with the full text of the new legislation to be submitted to the Spanish Parliament or Cortes,” stated Mr. Mazin, “I am sure it will normalize the life of religious minorities in Spain and furnish them with a legal framework for the development of their faiths, thus providing certain needed legislation and clarifying situations which led to false interpretations, especially abroad.

“As for problems which might arise in the field of proselytizing with other non-Catholic minorities, in view of the official Catholic character of the Spanish Government, such matters do not affect the Jewish minority, in view of the fact that proselytizing has been practically banned by the Jewish faith for 15 centuries.”

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