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How many Israelis have Portuguese citizenship and how many lived in Portugal before the Inquisition?


How many Israelis have Portuguese citizenship and how many lived in Portugal before the Inquisition? portugal news
How many Israelis have Portuguese citizenship and how many Jews lived in Portugal before the Inquisition? - Portugal Business News

Portugal news - How many Israelis have Portuguese citizenship under the law of return of Sephardic Jews? How many Jews lived in Portugal before the Inquisition and how many live in Portugal in 2023?


The number of Israelis having applied for Portuguese citizenship over the last two years exceed the number of applicants from any other country including Brazil. At the end of 2022, 77% of applications granted for Portuguese citizenship were from descendants of Sephardic Jews. There were 20,975 applications for Portuguese citizenship from Israelis in 2022 while the number of applications from Brazilians only reached 18,591, despite the fact that Brazil’s population is 20 times larger than that of Israel and the close ties between the two Lusophone countries.


In 2021, the number of applicants for Portuguese citizenship from Israeli citizens also exceeded that coming from any other country, accounting for 65% of the total number and reaching 19,466 applications. Moreover, of all new Portuguese passports issued in 2021, 45% were for foreigners of Sephardic Jewish descent according to Pordata.


Can Sephardic Jews still get citizenship in Portugal?


Portugal’s citizenship law of return was enacted in 2015 to allow the Jewish descendants of Sephardic origin who were expelled during the Inquisition to obtain a Portuguese passport. However, Portugal’s government has announced that the law of return for Sephardic Jews will be abolished in December 2023 in a major reversal of the initial welcome home policy. Even though the Portuguese government decided to extend citizenship to the descendants of Jews who were expelled from Portugal during the 16th Century, the welcome now has a deadline.


According to Portugal’s Government, "around 140,000 requests for naturalization were submitted, with Portuguese nationality being granted to around 57,000” by the end of 2021.


How many Israelis have Portuguese citizenship?


The number of Israelis that have actually obtained Portuguese citizenship through the Law of return has reached 56,685 descendants of Sephardic Jews for the period between 2015 and 2021 according to data from the IRN. However, the Portuguese government also refused 300 applications out of a total of 137,087 and there were 80,102 applications pending by the end of 2021.


Despite the large number of applications from Israelis, most of those who obtained Portuguese citizenship did not move to Portugal. While 60,000 Israelis had Portuguese citizenship in 2022, only 569 were residents, according to SEF data. In comparison, 239,744 Brazilians lived in Portugal in 2022.


How many Jews lived in Portugal before the Inquisition?


While Jewish populations predate the establishment of Portugal as a country, there were more than 200,000 Jews living in Portugal in the early 14th century, that accounted for around 20% of the total population.


The Portuguese Inquisition took place after the massacre in 1506 of 3,000 "new Christians" who converted from Judaism, and it was in force between 1536 and 1821 with the goal of rooting out all those who had converted from other faiths, mainly Judaism. The Portuguese Inquisition led to over 1,000 executions and to the expulsion of Jews and Muslims under a decree dated December 5th, 1496, by King Manuel I of Portugal.


Before the Portuguese Inquisition, there were more than 150 Jewish communities throughout the country and every major town, village and port had a Jewish quarter. With the banning of Judaism in 1496, these communities ended as Jews were forced to either convert to Christianity or leave Portugal.


However, during the second World War, more than 100,000 Jews were able to flee Nazi Germany to find freedom in Portugal before moving to other countries.


How many Jews live in Portugal in 2023?


Today, compared to a population of 200,000 Jews living in Portugal in the early 14th century, that accounted for 20% of the total population, there are only about 569 Jews living in Portugal according to SEF data, that accounts for around 0,006% of the total population of over 10 million.




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