MORE than 127,000 Sephardi Jews living outside Spain, mostly in Central and South America, have applied for Spanish nationality.

The deadline closed on October 1, with Jews in Mexico submitting 30,000 applications for citizenship – the largest from any country.

This was followed by Colombia (26,000), Venezuela (14,000), Argentina (7,000), US (5,400) and Israel (4,900).

It comes after the Spanish Government passed a law in 2015 in order to make amends for the expulsion of Sephardi Jews in 15th century Spain.

Catholic monarchs of the time defeated the Moors and then forced Jews to either convert or leave the country.

Sephardis, who are a recognised ethnic group, have had to get their ethnic roots checked by solicitors in Spain.

Aniol Resclosa
Call De Girona
KICKED OUT: Jews faced conversion or expulsion from Spain in the 15th Century after Catholic monarchs defeated the Moors

‘Sepharad’ is the Hebrew name given to the Iberian Peninsula and both Jewish descendants in Spain and Portugal use the term.

Sepharad is also a place of uncertain location that is mentioned once in the Bible.

The Sephardi Jews set up communities throughout Spain and Portugal before they began to be exiled in the 15th Century.

About 16% of the global Jewish population is Sephardi and around 40,000 are thought to live in Spain.

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