March 31, 2015
The expulsion of the Jews under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492 is just one of over 100 instances of Jewish expulsion by a European nation. Now, in 2015, Spain feels bad for the poor descendants of the Jews they expelled over 520 years ago. As a result, the country will offer citizenship to these descendants, which number approximately 2.2 million.
Exactly 523 years ago on Tuesday, the Edict of Expulsion, which forced Spain’s Jewish community to convert to Catholicism or leave the country, was issued by monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. It may have taken more than half a millennia, but Madrid is finally about to make amends for kicking out the Jews by offering citizenship to the estimated 2.2 million descendants of those expelled.
The Sephardic Ancestry Bill is expected to be approved in May by Spain’s upper house of parliament, the Senate. The bill is not expected to become law until the end of the year, but already, the Spanish embassy in Tel Aviv has been inundated by requests from those who are eager to get Spanish citizenship and the access to European Union countries it entails.
The Spanish government estimates that up to 90,000 people may apply, but it does not really know how many people may be able to prove that they have a blood relative who was forced to flee in 1492.
Spain had a Jewish population of 300,000 at the time of expulsion. It is not clear how many left but the migrants settled across the globe. As well as modern-day Israelis, Jews living in South America, North Africa and Turkey are expected to apply. Descendants of Spanish Jews include the 19th Century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and a host of artists, writers and scientists.
What are you thinking, Spain? First, why on earth would you bother to do this now, in the 21st century? Second, you should take back this offer and expel every Jew residing in your land once again. It’s fairly clear why the Jews need to be expelled; we have harped on it over and over again.