Portugal to grant Sephardic Jews citizenship

Jews fleeing the Spanish expulsion of 1492 were initially granted refuge in Portugal, but again faced expulsion just three years later.

February 15, 2014 21:57
1 minute read.
A man holds a Torah scroll during the festive procession returning it to Trancoso.

Man holding Torah returning to Trancoso, Portugal 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Michael Freund)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Portugal intends to follow Spain’s lead in granting citizenship to the descendants of Sephardic Jews exiled in the 15th century, the country’s tourism minister said over the weekend.

Portuguese Minister Adolfo Mesquita Nunes told Channel One’s View of the World program, broadcast on Saturday night, that the wording of a draft bill, similar to that announced by Spain just over a week ago, will soon be ready.

While Jews who fleeing the Spanish expulsion of 1492 were initially granted refuge in Portugal, they again faced expulsion at the hands of Manuel I of Portugal three years later. Jews remaining in the country faced harshly oppressive policies.

Nunes, who was in Israel last week on a state mission, was quoted by Portuguese media as saying that he intended to bolster Israeli tourism to his country.

Spanish Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon recently submitted a draft legislation, on behalf of the cabinet, to the legislature that would grant citizenship to anyone who could prove Sephardic Jewish identity or a “special connection” to Spain.

An applicant will be required to present a certificate either from the Federation or from a recognized rabbinical body overseas.

“People who speak Ladino [Judeo-Spanish] will also be considered, and those who have Sephardi last names [will be accepted; however] how the list will be compiled and which names will appear on it is at present a complicated challenge, and any lists that have been published so far, claiming to be official, are not,” a spokeswoman for the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain told The Jerusalem Post.

Marion Fischel contributed to this report.

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery


Cookie Settings