2014: Centuries after King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella banished all practicing Jews from the kingdom of Spain, the country has passed a law that will make it easier for descendants of Sephardim expelled in the 15th century to acquire Spanish citizenship. Under the new law, applicants will be allowed to retain citizenship of their home countries while simultaneously becoming Spaniards. The Telegraph reports:
“The law we've approved has a deep historic meaning: not only because it concerns events in our past of which we should not be proud, like the decree to expel the Jews in 1492, but because it reflects the reality of Spain as an open and plural society,” Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said after the cabinet approved the draft law last Friday.
Prospective applicants must prove their Sephardic background through their surnames, language or ancestry and get a certificate from the federation of Jewish communities in Spain.
Applicants do not have to be practising Jews, Mr Gallardon said and those who have knowledge of the Ladino language - the Judeo Spanish tongue spoken by the Sephardic Jews - will also be considered.
1492: Having already obtained a papal bull that made it easier for predominantly Catholic Spain to restrict the movement and activities of the country’s Jews, Ferdinand and Isabella took their anti-Semitism one step further in 1492, when they issued an edict ordering all Jewish Spaniards to convert or get out:
Notwithstanding that we were informed of the great part of this before now and we knew that the true remedy for all these injuries and inconveniences was to prohibit all interaction between the said Jews and Christians and banish them from all our kingdoms, we desired to content ourselves by commanding them to leave all cities, towns, and villages of Andalusia where it appears that they have done the greatest injury, believing that that would be sufficient so that those of other cities, towns, and villages of our kingdoms and lordships would cease to do and commit the aforesaid acts. And since we are informed that neither that step nor the passing of sentence of condemnation against the said Jews who have been most guilty of the said crimes and delicts against our holy Catholic faith have been sufficient as a complete remedy to obviate and correct so great an opprobrium and offense to the faith and the Christian religion, because every day it is found and appears that the said Jews increase in continuing their evil and wicked purpose wherever they live and congregate.
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