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Portugal’s Citizenship for Sephardic Jewry: A Golden Fountainhead


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26 April 2021


In 2015, Portugal offered citizenship to Sephardic Jews of Portuguese origin. Recommendations for Israeli applicants were made via the tiny Jewish community of Lisbon, while Porto was to decide on Jewry from the diaspora. Porto made the process stringent, dealing with Sephardim and the ultra-religious only. Lisbon thus became the address for everyone else, including Ashkenazim and Catholic Hispanic descendants of Jews. This article examines the ways in which Portugal followed the path taken by Spain concerning citizenship for Sephardim. As Spain ended its offer of citizenship in 2018–2019, Portugal, via Israeli lawyers and shopping-centre salesmen, became an easy path to a European passport for tens of thousands of Israelis of Sephardic origin. This mass interest created a rich source of income for the two Jewish communities, but also led to the emergence of unexpected categories of applicants for Portuguese citizenship. Based on ethnographic research and dozens of interviews, this article analyzes the factors and motivations that help to explain the desire for Portuguese citizenship.



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Link to article including link to pdf, Portugal’s Citizenship for Sephardic Jewry: A Golden Fountainhead

Bibliographic Information

Kerem, Yitzchak Portugal’s Citizenship for Sephardic Jewry: A Golden Fountainhead. Contemporary Jewry. 26 April 2021:  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.1007/s12397-021-09364-4