A special event has been held in Jerusalem to celebrate the “reconnection” of descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jews who were forced to convert or leave during the Spanish Inquisition.
The Knesset Caucus, held at the Israeli parliament on Tuesday and chaired by MK Robert Ilatov, brought together descendants of those known as Bnei Anusim, Marranos and Conversos.
Forced conversions, expulsions and persecution during the 14th and 15th Centuries meant hundreds of thousands of Jews fled, mainly to North and South America, and Europe. Their descendants are now estimated to number in the millions.
Caucus director Ashley Perry said: “This is an historic moment in the annals of the Jewish people and we are starting to rectify an historic injustice and reconnect with the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities.”
He added: “This can have many benefits for our people and we are calling on the Jewish world to place this issue at the highest levels of our global agenda.”
The initiative forms part of an official Israeli response to “the growing interest of people around the world to reconnect with Israel and the Jewish people,” he said, and will part of a series of events.