The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 was an "almost barbaric" act, Spain's consul general in Chicago said Saturday. The consul general, Francisco Jose Viqueira, spoke during an event held in the city Saturday marking 21 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Spain.
Viqueira described at length the expulsion of the Jews from the country in the 15th century, and echoed King Juan Carlos' apology to the Jewish people for the suffering they had endured. According to the consul, the expulsion was Spain's greatest political and historical mistake, since the Jews and their culture were an integral part of the country.
The special event, titled "Sephardic Flamenco," included a dance show by renowned Israeli flamenco dancers Ella Weich and Shoshi Yisraeli. Held at the Museum of Modern Art, the show was the culmination of the sixth Flamenco Festival in the city, sponsored by the Cervantes Institute.
The music that was especially composed for this event combined Israeli and Jewish elements in the Flamenco show.
Israeli Consul General Baruch Binah thanked his Spanish counterpart for the special gesture. He mentioned the suffering caused by the expulsion, but also stressed the profound influence the Golden Age in Spain had on Jewish culture.
Binah also referred to Spain's contribution to the Madrid Conference, and concluded by saying, "After 21 years, the ties between our countries have matured, and this is reflected in trade, economic, cultural and diplomatic relations."