Spanish ruling party submits bill on Jewish return


(JTA) — Spain’s ruling party has submitted a bill proposing to put in place a procedure for granting Spanish citizenship to descendants of expelled Sephardic Jews, a Spanish news agency reported.

The bill by the Popular Party proposes to naturalize applicants irrespective of their country of residence and without requiring them to relinquish any other nationalities they may already possess, according to a report Friday by the Servimedia news agency.

In the bill, the party “recalls that [the exiled] tenaciously adhered with reverence to its Spanish customs and roots through which they zealously preserved not only their love of Spain but also their traditions, culture and language,” Servimedia  reported.

Spain’s justice minister, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, last year said his government would be offering citizenship to Sephardic Jews descended from the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were forced to leave Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, which began in 1492 before expanding into Portugal.

In April, Portugal’s parliament overwhelmingly ratified a measure granting citizenship to Jews who are descended from those expulsed from Portugal. Immigration officials are drafting regulations to put the law into effect.

The Portuguese law, which was the first Jewish law of return passed outside Israel, was cited by the bill of the Popular Party, which occupies 185 seats of the 350 in Congress.

“The Popular Party recalls that Portugal recently passed a law that confers Portuguese nationality to descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews and the Spanish government must take an analogous measure,” the bill reads.

The Servimedia report did not say when Congress would schedule a vote on the bill.

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