Top American Jewish Leaders to Visit Spain as Government Welcomes Historic Legislation Mandating Jews of Sephardic Heritage Rights of Citizenship; Meetings with His Majesty Juan Carlos I and President of the Government, Mariano Rajoy to Offer Opportunity

February 9, 2014, New York, NY… The visit to Spain this week of a delegation of top American Jewish leaders for high level meetings including with his majesty King Juan Carlos I, President of the Government Mariano Rajoy, The Ministers of Justice and Interior, The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and other top government leaders, will offer an  opportunity to welcome the new legislation affording Jews of Sephardic decent the opportunity to apply for Spanish citizenship,  said Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

 

“This is an historic recognition of what occurred more than 500 years ago when the Jews of Spain were formally expelled or faced death if they did not convert to Catholicism. Sephardic Jews remained connected to their heritage, customs, and traditions wherever they went in the world.”

The legislation enables an exception to Spanish Law which does not allow for dual citizenship. Jews applying for Spanish citizenship may continue their current citizenship.

 

“The horrible and unacceptable events of the past cannot be undone, but the important recognition referenced in the legislation will help assure that the history of the violence and exile will never be forgotten. The importance of looking back is to learn the lessons of the past in order to protect future generations. The Spanish government by their actions is highlighting the contributions of Sephardic Jewry around the world and the importance of confronting the past honestly. We applaud their action. We look forward to discussing this and other important issues with Spain’s leadership and with the Spanish Jewish community.”

 

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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