At least 90,000 descendants of Sephardic Jews have become citizens of Portugal or Spain since 2015, when those countries passed laws offering a naturalization process for such applicants, according to the most updated information data from the two countries.
The laws were meant to atone for the Inquisition, a campaign of religious persecution unleashed at the end of the 15th century on the hundreds of thousands of Jews who had inhabited the Iberian Peninsula and flourished there.
Spain has received at least 153,000 applications for citizenship, while Portugal has received at least 86,000 applications, according to data published in Spanish and Portuguese media recently as part of annual reports on immigration trends.
Spain has granted citizenship to 36,000 applicants, or about 23 percent of the total who applied. Portugal has granted citizenship to 63 percent of applicants, or more than 54,000 people. Many thousands of applications are still pending review in both countries.
More than two-thirds of the applicants in Portugal are Israeli, according to a report Sunday in Lisbon’s Observador newspaper. In Spain, the share of Israelis was lower than 5 percent, according to data from late 2019.
Photo: Trevor Huxham
Sepharad House / Casa de Sefarad, Córdoba
A museum honoring the history and tradition of the Sephardic Jews, or the Jews who lived in the Iberian peninsula.