Mel Gibson surprised the world Jewry by turning up in one of the oldest and most beautiful historic Jewish centers in the world today.
Gibson renowned for his anti Semitic views seemed to have turned over a new leaf as he personally requested to visit the Alhambra Jewish center. For centuries the city of Granada had a large Jewish population. Thriving right up until 1492 when the Catholic Kings came to power. Unfortunately no synagogue remains in Granada (as in they do in other Spanish cities) however in January 2014 a new Sephardic Museum was opened. El Palacio de los Olvidados. It is close to the Plaza Nueva, in a side street called Cuesta San Inés. His visit includes a tour around the museum and gives the visitor an interesting insight into Granada´s Jewish history.
He looked relaxed and happy to be among the public and the tour which was led by a Rabbi. Afterward the Rabbi and his entourage were seeing retiring into a private room for more intimate talks on the history of the Jews in Spain.
A few years ago Spain announced that they would Grant full Citizenship to 4,300 Descendants of Sephardic Jews. Those whose Jewish ancestors fled after being told in 1492 to convert to Catholicism or go into exile ahead of the Spanish Inquisition that saw many Jews burned at the stake.
The naturalization were approved a day after Spain adopted its new citizenship law for descendants of Sephardic Jews, said Justice Minister Rafael Catala.
It allows the Jewish applicants to maintain their original citizenship so they can have dual nationality. The Spanish Jewish federation has received more than 5,000 requests for information about the Spanish law. No one knows how many people might be eligible, though some estimates run into the millions.
Portugal adopted a similar citizenship path for Sephardic Jews to make amends for its 1496 decision giving Jews 10 months to convert or leave.
The Portuguese citizenship application process does not require applicants to take language or culture tests or prove a modern-day link to the country.