May 29, 2024
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Israel Is Asked to Reach Out to Descendants of Conversos

Jerusalem–In response to the decision last week by the Portuguese government to offer citizenship to descendants of Portuguese Jews expelled more than five centuries ago, Michael Freund, founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel, issued this statement:

“In the wake of the decision by Portugal, I call on the Israeli government to embark on a new strategic approach and to reach out to the Bnei Anousim, people whose Spanish and Portuguese Jewish ancestors were compelled to convert to Catholicism more than five centuries ago. A growing number of Bnei Anousim are looking to strengthen their Jewish identity and reclaim their roots. It is vital that Israel take steps to strengthen their connection with the Jewish state and the Jewish people. If the Portuguese and Spanish governments recognize the importance of this community, the Israeli government can and should do the same.”

The Jerusalem-based Shavei Israel reaches out to and assists Lost Tribes and “Hidden Jews” seeking to return to the Jewish People. These include the Bnei Anousim of Spain, Portugal and Latin America; the Bnei Menashe of India, the “Hidden Jews” of Poland and others. Shavei Israel is the only organization currently working in Portugal with Bnei Anousim to strengthen their Jewish identity. For more information, visit http://www.shavei.org.

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