Spanish village which changed its name twins with Israeli town

June 20, 2016  

The Spanish village formerly known as “Kill the Jews” is twinning with an Israeli town, JTA reported Monday.

In late 2015, the ancient Spanish town of Castrillo Matajudios, which translates as “Camp Kill Jews”, officially changed its name to Castrillo Mota de Judios – meaning “Jews’ Hill Camp”.

On Sunday, the town of Kfar Vradim in northern Israel hosted officials from Castrillo Mota de Judios for a ceremony to make the relationship official.

Kfar Vradim is located south of Ma’alot-Tarshiha and about 14 kilometers south of Israel’s border with Lebanon.

As part of the relationship, the towns will promote cultural, tourist and commercial ties with each other, according to JTA.

Castrillo Mota de Judios Mayor Lorenzo Rodriguez, who in 2014 submitted the proposal to return the town in northern Spain to its original name, attended the signing ceremony, as did the Spanish ambassador to Israel, Fernando Cardera.

“We’re here in the Promised Land to safeguard the roots of the town, established in 1035,” Rodriguez said at the ceremony.

The name of the village was changed to Castrillo Matajudíos during the Spanish Inquisition in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

The name change was made possible after residents voted in favor of the change after the mayor said it was offensive and the village should honor its Jewish origins.

No Jews currently live in the Spanish village, but a Star of David can be found on its official shield.

Since the name change, the town has complained that it has come under attack from extremist groups who have daubed signposts and buildings with offensive symbols and messages protesting the switch.

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