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Portugal okays law of return for Sephardic Jews

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 Government in Lisbon approves changes to law on naturalizing descendants of Jews expelled five centuries ago.

The Portuguese government on Thursday approved modifications to a law that regulates nationality rights to the descendants of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from the Iberian nation five centuries ago, local media reported.

"I would not say that it is a historical reparation, because I believe that in this regard there is no possibility of repairing what has been done. I would say that it is the granting of a right," Portuguese RPT news quoted Justice Minister Paula Teixeira da Cruz as saying at the conclusion of a cabinet meeting.

Portugal’s law on naturalizing descendants of Sephardic Jews was passed by parliament in 2013.

“We expect the law to be effective by mid-February or the beginning of March 2015,” said the president of Lisbon’s Jewish community Oulman Carp.

According to the legislation, “the government will give nationality … to Sephardic Jews of Portuguese ancestry who belong to a tradition of a Portuguese-descended Sephardic community, based on objective prerequisites proving a connection to Portugal through names, language and ancestry.”

Oulman Carp said it also will apply to non-Jewish descendants of Sephardim, Oulman Carp said.

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