Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Spain Scraps Language Test For Jewish Law Of Return

(JTA) — Spanish authorities dispensed with language and culture tests for elderly applicants for citizenship under the country’s law of return for Sephardi Jews.

The Spanish justice ministry decided to offer the dispensation from tests on the Spanish language and heritage, which used to be necessary for all applicants for citizenship under the 2013 law, after it emerged that it effectively barred hundreds of elderly Turkish Jews from exercising their right to a Spanish passport, El Pais reported last week.

Spain has naturalized 4,919 applicants for citizenship by Sephardim since the law went into effect last year, according to the daily. However, only 387 applicants were granted citizenship based on the actual law. Others were naturalized by a royal decree and not through the non-discretionary procedure devised for the law.

The tests applicants were required to pass need to be taken in Spain, a complicating factor.

Karen Gerson Sharon of the Sephardic Center of Istanbul said the dispensation was “very welcome.”

The governments of both Spain and Portugal passed the laws as a symbolic rectification for the murder, mass deportations and forced conversions to Christianity of their Jews during the 15th and 16th centuries, during what came to be known the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at help@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.