Descendants of forcibly converted Spanish Jews support Israel, long to return to their roots

Ashley Perry

Ashley Perry, president of Reconectar. (Facebook)

Descendants of Sephardic Jews who converted to Christianity by force over 500 years ago are showing support for Israel and a desire to return to their spiritual roots.

By Atara Beck, World Israel News

Descendants of Sephardic Jews who converted to Christianity by force following the edict of the Spanish king in 1492, requiring them either to renounce their Judaism or to face expulsion, are showing solidarity with the people of Israel during the current wave of Palestinian terror. On Sunday, the B’nei Anousim, as they are known, held solidarity marches in several cities across the globe, including Recife, Brazil and El Paso, Texas, where a large number of them reside.

“Expressing solidarity with Israel is an important part of the Anousim identity,” said Ashley Perry (Perez), president of Reconectar, an organization facilitating their connection with the Jewish world. “Many adults and children held banners and waved Israeli flags in order to express their full support for the legitimate right of Israel to protect its civilian population.”

Perry is also director-general at the Israeli parliamentary caucus promoting contact with these descendants of Jews.

“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,” declared Jefferson Linconn, one of the organizers of the Recife event, according to Perry.

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Tens of millions of people descend from the exiled Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities, Perry estimates. “DNA advances are just one way that so many people are realizing that they are part of the tens of millions of people who are descended from the hundreds and thousands of Jews who were forcibly converted hundreds of years ago.”

Many of these descendants are now seeking to reconnect with the Jewish People, and Reconectar is assisting them in that endeavor, he explains.

“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.”