Spain speeds up naturalization for Sephardi Jews

Ancestry of those with links to pre-Inquisition Iberia will be vetted first by national Federation of Jewish Communities

MADRID (AP) — Spain has announced measures to speed up the naturalization of Jews of Sephardic descent whose ancestors fled the Iberian peninsula more than five centuries ago when they were told to convert to Christianity or go into exile.

Sephardi Jews have had the option of seeking Spanish naturalization for decades. The change announced Thursday gives them special status and sets up a process for their ancestry to be vetted by the Spanish Federation of Jewish Communities and forwarded to authorities for approval.

The federation says thousands of Sephardi Jews around the world could benefit, particularly those living in Latin America and Turkey.

Many Sephardi Jews fled to places like Istanbul, London and Cairo after the 1492 decree. Others who didn’t convert were killed during the Inquisition.

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