Sephardi Jews get special status in Spain

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Spain is to speed up the naturalisation of Jews of Sephardic descent whose ancestors fled more than five centuries ago after being told to convert to Christianity or go into exile.

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

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

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