on July 20, 2020

Victory of the world Sephardic community: law change proposal retreats

on July 20, 2020

Vitória da comunidade sefardita mundial: proposta de mudança na lei recua

PS withdraws proposal and sends the nationality regulation to the Executive Branch by Sephardic way

On July 15, another chapter was written about the controversy surrounding the changes to the Nationality Law in the points that refer to the descendants of Sephardic Jews. The Socialist Party (PS) withdrew the proposed amendment that required an effective link for descendants of Sephardic Jews to obtain Portuguese nationality. Now, the decision will rest with the Executive Power, in the person of the Prime Minister, to whom the act of regulating the law may be delegated by the Assembly of the Republic. It is important to say that there is still no deadline for resolving the issue.

According to members of the Portuguese parliament, the decision was made because this specific point, referring to the descendants of Sephardim, was hindering the progress of discussions on updating the nationality law. “We can consider the retreat as a victory not only for the Sephardic community but also for everyone who understands the historical importance of the nationality law in this way. The requirements that were aimed at creating would remove the law from its reparative purpose, interrupting a process of continuous approximation and rediscovery of Portugal by Sephardic people from all over the world ”evaluates lawyer Renato Martins. 


Since the proposal to amend the so-called “Portuguese Nationality Law by the Sephardic way” was presented by the PS on May 11, numerous criticisms were made by politicians, intellectuals and Jewish leaders from different parts of the globe, such as the Bishop of Porto, the Bar Association of Israel and Portugal and the Israeli Community of Lisbon (CIL). The latter manifested itself, on July 7, requesting the suspension of the revision of the law and also announcing that it will request a meeting with the president of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Rui Rio, and awaits a meeting with the prime minister. and PS leader, António Costa, in addition to wanting to be heard again in the Constitutional Affairs committee.

Understand the case

According to the PS proposal, presented on May 11, those who fall under the Decree-Law no. 30-A-2015, which grants Portuguese nationality by naturalization to descendants of Sephardic Jews (persecuted by the Iberian Inquisition between the 15th and 18th centuries), they would have to live legally in Portugal for at least two years before being entitled to the benefit.

According to the authors of the proposal, the change aims to ensure that “Portuguese nationality is not transformed into a tradable asset”, as there would be a real “sale of Portuguese nationality as a way of acquiring advantages inherent to the possession of a European Union passport (exemption visas for most States, especially the USA, and the right of residence in any EU Member State) ”, as reported by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva.


As the criticism of the proposal, which was identified as prejudiced by the CIL, accumulated, the PS made several changes, which had been blocking the progress of discussions on the revision of the naturalization law for all other profiles of applicants. With the removal of the PS proposal, it will be up to the Government to deliberate on the specific case of Sephardic descendants.

Follow:Timeline: proposal to change the “Law of Nationality through Sephardic way”