Portugal votes on citizenship for expelled Jews' offspring

By JTA
April 11, 2013 11:16

The parliament of Portugal was scheduled to vote on whether to naturalize descendants of 16th-century Jews who fled the country because of religious persecution.

The motion was set to be brought to a first reading on Thursday by Portugal’s Socialist Party and was expected to pass, as it has the support of the ruling Social Democratic Party, according to Jose Oulman Carp, president of Portugal's Jewish community. Together the parties hold 80 percent of the Portuguese parliament’s 230 seats.

Carp called the motion “a huge development” and told JTA it proposes to give Portuguese citizenship to descendants of the Portuguese Inquisition, which began in 1536 and resulted in the expulsion of tens of thousands of people and the forced conversion into Christianity of countless others.

Portugal had a Jewish population of about 400,000, many of them refugees from neighboring Spain, where the Inquisition started in 1492. Spanish lawmakers are said to be drafting a similar motion.


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