Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal iStock

The Jewish Community of Lisbon (CIL) has accused the Portuguese Ministry of Justice of ignoring its issues with reforms to the Portuguese Nationality Regulation for descendants of Sephardi Jews.

“The CIL would like to be able to speak with the Minister of Justice. We have already made three requests for a hearing, and there is not even an acknowledgement of receipt of the request,” CIL treasurer José Ruah told Portuguese language news site JN.

The changes were made in the last three months after allegations of improprieties in the citizenship process.

Ruah argued that several of the changes made in March violated the Portuguese constitution, such as forcing applications to submit documents of property inheritance and evidence of frequent trips to Portugal.

While admitting that some of the changes to the law were positive, he also blasted the IRN agency responsible for granting naturalization, which is under the Ministry of Justice, for refusing to clarify questions concerning when naturalization comes into effect.

Due to the confusion, Ruah said the community was considering taking other steps to get the answers they were looking for.

From the start of the program on March 1, 2105 to December 31, 2021, 56,685 Jews of Portuguese descent had their naturalization requests approved A total of 137,087 Sephardi Jews have applied, with 80, 201 applications still being considered.