EU Dream: 90,000 Jews Seek Spanish Citizenship

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 4/01/2015 01:30:00 AM
Spain sort of rights wrongs...over half a millennium later.
[NOTE: This ain't no April Fool's Day post; see here, too.] We keep hearing this refrain that "the EU is finished" only to encounter so many counterexamples to silence the naysayers. Well after the global financial crisis struck and Greece began its descent into uncharted depths of financial hell,  Estonia joined the Eurozone in 2010, followed by Latvia in 2014 and Lithuania in 2015. Not bad for a supposedly moribund currency. Now we have even more EU-buoying news: In recent years, Spain has been trying to make amends for expelling Jews in 1492 [!] during the Spanish Inquisition by welcoming back those whose ancestry can be traced. By some counts, that's about 2.2 million people that Spain will be offering citizenship to when the legislation is completed later this year.

Already, 90,000 of them are supposedly headed for Spain, with more to follow. Apparently, the attractions of working in the EU were too good to pass up:
Exactly 523 years ago on Tuesday, the Edict of Expulsion, which forced Spain’s Jewish community to convert to Catholicism or leave the country, was issued by monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. It may have taken more than half a millennia, but Madrid is finally about to make amends for kicking out the Jews by offering citizenship to the estimated 2.2 million descendants of those expelled.

Spain had a Jewish population of 300,000 at the time of expulsion. It is not clear how many left but the migrants settled across the globe. As well as modern-day Israelis, Jews living in South America, North Africa and Turkey are expected to apply. Descendants of Spanish Jews include the 19th Century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and a host of artists, writers and scientists.
As people across the European continent grow more concerned about immigration, the move has not been universally popular in Spain and with about one in four Spaniards registered as unemployed, there is a fear that a new influx of immigrants may put more pressure on the job market...
The article questions why Jews who've settled in Israel will want to go to Spain when the former's GDP is rather higher. Alas, this misses the point that Spain is merely a gateway to working anywhere in the EU, which is decidedly a larger job market than rather tiny Israel. Spain's move is unlikely to go down well with Israeli hardliners like PM Netanyahu:
The move by the Spanish government is not likely to prove universally popular in Israel either, which was established to provide a state for Jews. Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was criticised in aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January when he encouraged French and other European Jews to emigrate to Israel.

“Israel sees the bill as a piece of internal legislation in Spain; as Spain dealing with its dark past in terms of the tragedy of what happened when it kicked out the Jewish people, just because they were Jews,” says Hamutal Rogel Fuchs, a spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Madrid.
Migration always pull up surprises, and it's interesting to see how people move in response to such signals.