Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Consideration 2: A Step Forward For Obtaining Spanish Citizenship

Just a few days ago the Spanish Cabinet officially approved draft legislation allowing people with Sephardic Jewish ancestry to obtain dual citizenship. They have added one caveat to the process which requires the person to not only prove their ancestry but they must also pass a Spanish Culture Test. What that exactly entails they have not released but it is being prepared by the Cervantes Institute. The legislation cannot be implemented until approved by the Spanish Parliament which is controlled by the  conservative People's Party who strongly support the legislation, so it will most likely pass.

Some are lauding the move as a way to right the injustice of the Spanish Inquisition. But there is another voice which has emerged forbidding Jews to obtain Spanish citizenship. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner and other senior rabbis urged the Jewish people to reject the offer. Their main argument is they believe Spain is using this for political reasons to "make up for the expulsion of the Jews." Rabbi Aviner also spoke about the financial gain Spain is looking to gain because of their need for support, even claiming "An Israeli passport is worth more."

After my first post about looking into obtaining citizenship once available I heard from a lot of people about their opinion and many said things quite similar to Rabbi Aviner. Some even said they felt that Jews looking to move abroad should consider Israel over Spain since it is the Jewish Nation. Rabbi Haim Drukman had similar statements earlier this year, "We are privileged to have our own country and we should be proud to be its citizens." It is an interesting notion but one many non-religious Jews would not agree with, especially those who don't want to serve 2 years in the military or are afraid of the current fighting situation.

Leading Sephardic Rabbi Eliyahu Abergil reminded the Jews that there is an ancient cherem (religious ban) which was decreed after the Inquisition. A topic which I've heard about since I began my research on my Sephardic ancestry.

At this point I couldn't move forward with obtaining citizenship because I have to wait for Spanish Parliament. Yet the question I have to really ask before I move forward is, "What do I gain out of it?" Obviously it would be really cool to have dual citizenship but there are negatives and a lot of unknowns with possible situations that could arise, especially anything legal. One of the best positives from getting Spanish citizenship is becoming a member of the European Union, basically giving me access to live, work, and study in any EU country. EU membership has a lot of other perks whether I'm traveling throughout the EU or I decide to live there. Beyond this the only other thing I'd gain, I assume, is the ability to participate in Spanish politics.

There is certainly a decent amount to consider and many people have already decided they won't go through with it if the bill passes. Yet there are many more who are still quite interested and see this as a big opportunity. At least I have time to figure it out.

Read the Previous and Follow-up articles;
The Consideration: Obtaining My Spanish Citizenship As A Sephardi
The Consideration 3: Spain and Portugal Pass Sephardic Right to Return
The Consideration 4: Starting the Process for Portuguese Citizenship


  1. Hi Jarrett, i've been working on some blog posts comparing various EU country's citizenship proposals. Your blog is the first time I have seen anyone actually cite the draft bill. Do you have time to talk about the subject of the Spanish proposal? I can't find an e-mail anywhere on this blog but mine is listed on the about page of the blog jordandrewdotca.wordpress.com

  2. I'd love to know more about the process if you go through with it. I come from Sephardic heritage as well, and I'm wanting to obtain dual citizenship. My grandmother speaks Ladino and Spanish, and as far as I know, my family came from Turkey to the US in the 1920's. Excited to read more!

  3. I see good things for Jews in Europe. The Europeans have a past against Jews. With few children, many Muslim radicals were to work there. These have many children. If the past was bad, I see that this can only be a trap for Jews, since Europe, it seems, will be a continent dominated by Islam.