JERUSALEM, July 12 (UPI) -- A leading ultra-conservative rabbi has ruled the Chuetas of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, are of Jewish descent.
The Chuetas, who were forced to convert to Christianity 600 years ago, are the descendants of Mallorca's Jews, Arutz Sheva reported. The Chuetas were then not permitted to intermarry or assimilate into Catholic society until the modern era.
Hareidi Rabbi Nissim Karelitz recently issued a statement that in his opinion the Chuetas are clearly part of the people of Israel.
"Since it has become clear that it is accepted among them [the Chuetas] that throughout the generations most of them married among themselves, then all those who are related to the former generations are Jews, from our brethren the children of Israel, the nation of God," he said.
Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund told Spanish Journalists he had been working for years to get the Chuetas recognized as Jews.
"This ruling removes any doubts or questions that may have existed regarding their status," he said. "The Chuetas are now considered to be full-fledged members of the Jewish people. Rabbi Karelitz's decision will pave the way for many of them to return to their roots nearly six centuries after their ancestors were torn away from us against their will."