Spanish Crypto-Jews Show Solidarity With Israel
For the first time, a group of 19 Bnai Anousim (people whose ancestors were forcibly converted to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition) has arrived on a solidarity visit with the Jewish state organized by the Amishav organization.
The members of the group, who hail from Spain and Portugal, will tour the country, hear lectures on Judaism, Israel and anti-Semitism, and spend Shabbat in Jerusalem. They will also visit Safed, home to a number of famous synagogues built by Sephardi exiles from Spain in the Middle Ages, and meet with Israel’s Sephardic Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo Amar.
“This is an historic event,”said Amishav Director Michael Freund. “Bnai Anousim are proudly standing up and affirming their support for Israel. After so many centuries of enforced separation, the return of our brethren has begun.”
Next week, the group will meet with Minister of Diaspora Affairs Natan Sharansky, and will present him with “Megillat HaAnousim” (the Scroll of the Bnai Anousim), a document signed by hundreds of Bnai Anousim around the world expressing their support for the State of Israel.
The document reads, in part:
“Ever since they were compelled to abandon their faith, the path of our forefathers has been long and difficult over the past 500 years, but nevertheless we are here”
“Our search for our roots arises out of the need and the desire to bind our fate once again with that of the people of Israel. We wish to express our whole-hearted support for the State of Israel, as well as the solidarity we feel with the victims of terror and violence in the State of Israel, all of whom are dear to our hearts.”
“Be certain that those of us in Spain and Portugal that shall do everything we can, both personally and collectively, to struggle against anti-Zionism and the hatred of Jews. This document is a clarion call, in which we wish to declare to one and all: ‘we are here, and we shall always stand by your side.”