VALENCIA. The witer José Hinojosa Montalvo tells in his article ‘The Jews of the Kingdom of Valencia during the fifteenth century’. It was May 26, 1394. By royal privilege of John I, the Hunter, was authorized the creation of a new cemetery to the Jewish aljama of Valencia. It was like compensation, recognition. Three years earlier the city’s Hebrew quarter had suffered the revolts and assault of the angry mobs.
“After the assault of 1391 the old enclosure was abandoned and a new one was found,” Hinojosa writes. “In the middle of 1393 the Jews were authorized by John I to transfer the bones of their ancestors to the new enclosure, and the 26 of May of 1394 the king authorized the creation of the same one”. The new cemetery hardly lasted a century. On its lot was built in 1491 the convent of Santa Catalina of Siena. The following year, the Jews were expelled from Spain, by order of the Catholic Kings.
The convent had better fortune, but did not reach the five centuries. Nothing is eternal. It was demolished in the late sixties to build there the first of the department stores of El Corte Inglés in Valencia, that of Pintor Sorolla. One God, Yahweh, was replaced by another, the God of Christians. And in the last quarter of the twentieth century, this was replaced by the divinity who can: money.
This Thursday, in the mayoralty of Valencia closed this story that covers six centuries. And it was done with a simple signature on paper, on a glass table. The mayor of Valencia, Joan Ribó, signed in a joint act, the agreements for the provision of religious assistance in the General Cemetery to the Catholic, Muslim and Israeli communities. The three agreements have a duration of four years.
Historical date for the Hebrews
Isaac Sananes, president of the Israelite Community of Valencia, recalled that, unlike Catholics and Muslims, in that it was a renewal of an agreement, “for the Jews of Valencia this is a historical date because 600 years ago We had a graveyard, “he said.
“This is the first time we have been able to sign an agreement that has been brewing for many years. Today’s signature will be a milestone that we will all remember, and we want to thank your support to the City Council’s managers to achieve this. For us this is the second cemetery. The former was from the fourteenth century and this is the twenty-first century. We had been waiting for a few centuries, so thank you very much, “he said.
The object, in the case of the Muslim and Israeli communities, is to provide them with burial units specific to the practices of each of these confessions, while in the case of the Catholic Church, religious assistance is specified in the chapel of the Cemetery General.
But the General Cemetery of Valencia will not only be closed to the people of the Book, and will also give space to other religious denominations by means of a symbolism of “neutral character” so that “each confession can place its own symbols” and “all can be developed with total Freedom and the same rights “.
Freedom for all beliefs
In an event witnessed also by the Councilor for the Environment, Pilar Soriano, and the regional secretary of inclusion, Alberto Ibáñez, Ribó took advantage of the launching of a proclamation for tolerance. “Valencia is increasingly a city that welcomes all people assuming their religious beliefs, and that is why we want all religious beliefs to develop with total freedom and all people can have the same rights regardless of their religion or not religion” , He said.
The agreement was signed by Ribó with Vicent Fontestad, Vicar General of the Archbishopric of Valencia; Abdul Rahim Yaghmour, president of the Islamic Community of Valencia, and Isaac Sananes, president of the Israeli Community of Valencia, and serves, as they pointed out from the City Hall, “to guarantee the rights of people and the plurality of all the major religions represented in Valencia”.
“Today,” said Ribó, “it is a beautiful day in which we take one more step to make Valencia a welcoming city for all people with all their beliefs and their cultures, and for anyone living in Valencia to enjoy all rights”.