More than five hundred British Jews ask for Portuguese citizenship after the Brexit referendum, using a Portuguese law destined to make historic justice to get a free pass for the European Union.
They are descendent of the Sephardim, who were expelled from the country 500 years ago or had run away from the inquisition.
The Iberian origins are just one of the reasons that led Pippa Hyam to ask for Portuguese citizenship.
“We decided to apply following the vote in the UK to leave the European Union. We, the family, we were very upset about this, we very unhappy about that decision and so we realized that this was an opportunity for us to retain EU citizenship”.
She lives in London, where she was born, just like her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.
It has been more than five hundred years since leaving Portugal. She’s a descendant of the Sephardic Jews expelled by King Manuel.
“A relative of mine has done a family tree for our family and were able to trace the family back to Iraq and Syria where a lot Sephardic Jews went after they left Portugal”.
Pippa’s request is just one of the many that arrived in the Jewish community of Porto and Lisbon.
The law that seeks to restore justice to Jews who fled religious persecution has been in existence for two years, but British requests only began to arrive after June last year.
The law seeks to restore justice. More than 500 Sephardim descendants asked for Portuguese citizenship after the referendum.
To Jews who fled religious persecution, the law has been in existence for two years, but British requests only began to arrive after June last year.
“The difference is dramatic and so prior to the referendum we only had 5 requests for certification from British Sephardim. After the referendum we had about 500. They didn’t do it before because before the referendum it had no practical benefits but now it will have”.
The Ministry of Justice has approved all cases submitted by the Jewish communities.
It takes about a year to deliberate.
For the British, more important than resolving injustices of the past, it is about preventing the future.
“Jews throughout history have always risked expulsion. In the 21st century. it is possible through a European passport to have several citizenships which gives access to live in many countries and this achieved, is a plan B for British Jews”.
Pippa wants to be Portuguese, but living in Portugal is not in her plans.
“Certainly, but no plans at the moment. I never say never”.
Pippa thanks the Portuguese government for the historic repair which can now mean free movement in the European Community.