In Madrid, Spain, sixty leaders of member organizations of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, on an historic first official visit to Spain by the American umbrella organization, met with His Majesty King Juan Carlos I at Zarzuela Palace. The King spoke about the Jewish cultural heritage and the major influence that they had in Spain, including the Jewish contributions to science, philosophy, culture and arts. He noted the Sefarad-Israel Center, which promotes a deeper relationship with Sephardic culture, and the city of Toledo, which the group will be visiting, where the remnants of Jewish life can still be seen even after 500 years since the Expulsion. The delegation, led by Robert Sugarman, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, addressed issues related to strengthening ties between Spain, the United States, and Israel, as well as with the American Jewish community. They praised the legislation being enacted by the Spanish government that will grant citizenship to Jews of Spanish Sephardic ancestry, as an important recognition of the tragic events 500 years ago and the importance of educating this and future generations about it, and for Spain to lead in efforts to counter anti-Semitism, extremism, and the threats of boycotts against Israel in Europe. Hoenlein said the visit was intended to "break down barriers of the past and build bridges for the future." The King affirmed saying, "Spain's doors are open to you now and always."
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