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Spain’s window for Sephardic Jews to seek nationality closes

October 1, 2019

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s Justice Ministry says that the four-year period for the descendants of Sephardic Jews to apply for Spanish citizenship has closed.

The ministry said Tuesday that 132,226 people who claim Sephardic origins have requested Spanish citizenship since the law offering them the opportunity took effect in 2015. The Spanish government issued the law to repair the “historical mistake” Spain made when it forced its Jewish population to convert or go into exile in 1492.

The term “Sephardic” literally means “Spanish” in Hebrew. It is estimated that Sephardic Jews range between a fifth and a third of the world’s roughly 13 million Jews.

For centuries, Sephardic Jewish communities have maintained their customs and the Ladino language.

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