Spain to Give Prestigious Prize to Descendants of Expelled Jews

Spain is awarding one of its most prestigious prizes, the Prince of Asturias Prize, to world Sephardic Jewry, the descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain 500 years ago.

The award was announced Friday by the Principality of Asturias Foundation in the northwest city of Oviedo, near the Bay of Biscay.

The presentation is made there annually by the Prince of Asturias, the son of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia, who is accompanied by his parents on the occasion.

According to the foundation, which was established in Oviedo in 1980, the prize is granted for solidarity, and can be awarded to an individual, group or institution in any country of the world.

While it recognizes efforts to transcend national boundaries in the interests of the brotherhood of man, it is also awarded for struggles against poverty, sickness or ignorance, and to individuals or groups which open new boundaries of knowledge.

The decision to award the prize to Sephardic Jewry, whose expulsion from Spain will be commemorated in a series of national events in 1992, is seen as an effort to renew Spain’s dialogue with the Jews and improve ties with Israel.

The prize consists of a document, a distinctive symbol in the form of a sculpture by Joan Miro, and 5 million pesetas, the equivalent of nearly $50,000.

It was not immediately known who will accept the prize on behalf of the Sephardic Jewish communities worldwide.

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