Jewish Community of Lisbon rejects the destruction of the right of Sephardic Jews to obtain Portuguese nationality

Jewish Community of Lisbon rejects the destruction of the right of Sephardic Jews to obtain Portuguese nationality

On the 2nd of June, the Jewish Community of Lisbon (CIL) sent a legal view to the First Commission of the Portuguese Parliament on the Proposed Law 72/XV/1.ª of the Socialist Party, which is about to be discussed and voted on.

The socialist proposal intends to put an end to the Sephardic legislation on January 1, 2024 and, until that date, applicants must prove that they inherited property during inquisitorial times or that they traveled many times to Portugal throughout their lives.

Signed by the constitutionalist Ricardo Branco, the CIL legal view states that there is a flagrant violation of the constitutional principles of equality and proportionality. Demonstration of inheritance of those goods is "impossible to fulfill", and the requirement of many lifelong trips to Portugal is a "contradiction in terms" and favors only "those who were able to carry them out".

The CIL mentions that stipulating a final deadline for the Sephardim rights is something that does not happen with any other descendants of Portuguese and people subject to naturalization, which results in a new violation of the constitutional principle of equality.

If the socialist proposal is approved, the means of reaction that the CIL could use are listed in the letter sent to Portuguese Parliament: awareness of the President of the Portuguese Republic (to not enact the Law) and of the Ombudsman (to request the supervision of the law by the Constitutional Court).

The legal view of CIL states that the European Commission may take legal action against Portugal for non-compliance with European Union law and states that applicants have a clear right to resort to the courts to assert their legitimate rights.

The Jewish Community of Oporto (CIP/CJP), on the other hand, did not send a letter to Parliament, but stresses that "this illegal proposal, and prior to that, the illegal regulation, have as their backdrop the illegal invasion of the largest Synagogue in Sefarad based on slanderous anonymous denunciations. The government has been showing the same attitude for three years."

In April 2020, in a pandemic period, the government intended to require all applicants to reside in Portugal at least for two years. In 2022, in the middle of fake news in relation to a Russian citizen, it published a regulation with the same requirements that it now wants to copy into Law.