Weeks after Portugal announced it was ready to welcome back the descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled from the country in the 1400s, over 5000 applications “from all over the world” have flooded into Jewish communities in Lisbon and Porto.
Michael Rothwell, a spokesman for the Porto community told the BBC that already 21 certificates of Portuguese nationality have been approved for people from Australia, the United States, Israel, France, South Africa, Turkey, Panama, China, England, Macedonia, Switzerland and Kazakhstan.
He told the news services that he was “profoundly happy” that the law – passed last year – had finally been implemented.
Elsewhere, Jornal de Notícias carried the news of the first Sephardic Jew to receive his certificate of Portuguese nationality.
He is Alfonso Paredes, from Panama, whose copious documents on his family’s history show him to be a direct descendant of the Spanish rabbi Eliau Abraham Lopez who married a Portuguese woman by the name of Raquel Nunes da Fonseca.
Implementing the new law at the beginning of February, Portugal’s Justice minister Paula Teixeira da Cruz said it was “an historic moment” that “dignified” Portugal at a time when anti-Semitism was once again rearing its ugly head in Europe (see: https://www.portugalresident.com/justice-minister-speaks-out-against-rising-tide-of-anti-semitism).