Sephardic Jews get dual nationality from Spain

BY Justin Scuiletti  February 7, 2014 at 3:50 PM EST
The Alhambra Decree was issued March 31, 1492 by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain Isabella and Ferdinand. The decree ordered the expulsion of Jews from Spain by 31 July of that year unless they converted to Catholicism.

The Alhambra Decree was issued March 31, 1492 by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain Isabella and Ferdinand. The decree ordered the expulsion of Jews from Spain by 31 July of that year unless they converted to Catholicism.

Descendants of Sephardic Jews, who were expelled from Spain in 1492, will now be allowed to seek Spanish nationality without having to give up their current citizenship.

The law, passed by the Spanish government Friday, will give the opportunity for 3.5 million people across several countries to apply for Spanish nationality if they can prove their Sephardi ancestry. Applicants, Reuters reports, do not have to be practicing Jews.

An estimated 300,000 Sephardic Jews — Sephardic meaning “Spanish” in Hebrew — were driven from Spain in 1492 after Catholic monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand issued an Edict of Expulsion. The edict, also know as the Alhambra Decree, gave Jews three months to convert to Catholicism, leave the country, or face death without trial.