Members of the Anousim community, who are the descendants of Jews forcibly converted by Spain and Portugal centuries ago, staged marches around the world on Sunday in support of Israel as it confronts a wave of Arab terror.
The marches took place in El Paso, Texas and in Recife, Brazil, where the march started outside the Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue built around 1636. The Brazillian synagogue is thought to be the oldest synagogue in the Americas.
"We Anousim in Recife march in favor of peace and Israel, to express solidarity with the State of Israel and our Jewish brethren who are currently under attack from Palestinian terrorists, as well as expressing ourselves publicly, in order to give visibility to the Brazilian and international Anousim issue," said Jefferson Linconn, an organizer of the Recife march.
Linconn added that the effort to raise awareness of the Anousim issue is meant with an eye "particularly towards having our rights recognized and finally to return to being an inseparable part of the people of Israel."
In the marches, many waved Israeli flags and banners reading "am Yisrael chai," meaning "the nation of Israel lives."
The events are highly significant according to Ashley Perry (Perez), who serves as President of Reconectar, an organization working to reconnect the descendants of forcibly converted Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities with the wider Jewish world.
“Expressing solidarity with Israel is a important part of the Anousim identity and it is vital that the love and affection they have for Israel and the Jewish People is returned,” said Perry, who was in contact with the organizers of the events.
"Our people are reconnecting every day around the world in their thousands and we call on Jewish religious and lay leaders and individuals to put out their arms in a warm embrace to these people who have overcome so much historic oppression and are now seeking to reconnect.”
Perry also serves as Director General of the official Knesset Caucus for the Reconnection with the Descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Communities, which is chaired by MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu).
The Caucus just recently held its first meeting, which was attended by over 300 diplomats, politicians and religious figures from Israel and around the world.