Published on : 06/29/2016
By : Arista Asmawati
Representatives of the Spanish village of Castrillo Mota de Judios (Jew's Hill Fort), formerly known as Castrillo Matajudios (Kill the Jews Fort), visit Israel to discover their Jewish roots, and spend a day with KKL-JNF; planting trees in President's Forest and visiting the biofilter in Kfar Saba.
For representatives of a small Spanish village visiting Israel, it was a day of planting roots in the Holy Land and tasting the fruit of the vine
, of learning about maximizing scarce water resources
and making new friends, in their quest to connect to their own ancient Jewish roots.
Last year the village made headlines when it changed its name from "Castrillo Matajudios"- or "Fort Kill the Jews"- back to its original name of "Castrillo Mota de Judios," "Jew's Hill Fort."
The name of the historically Jewish village had been changed during the Inquisition to ward off suspicions of the Inquisitor, and last year, they voted to reinstate its original name. There are no Jews living in the village now, though its residents are mostly all descendants of the original Jews who had been living there since 974 C.E.
During a week-long visit to Israel organized by the Centro Sefarad-Israel - an arm of the Spanish Foreign Ministry which aims to serve as a bridge between Spain and the Jewish world- and KKL Spain, the group held a twinning ceremony with the northern village of Kfar Vradim, and visited sites in the north including Akko and Nazareth, holy sites in Jerusalem and the Dead Sea and Masada.
Heading the delegation was the mayor of Castrillo Mota de Judios, Lorenzo Rodriguez, and joining him were town councilors Agustin Alonso and Antonino Calleja, Castrillo Mota de Judios archaeology director Angel Palomin, and architect Gonzalo Villareal. They were accompanied by Centro Sefarad Israel Director General Miguel de Lucas and Director of Documentation and community manager Rosa Mendez.
Expressing a keen interest in creating a friendship forest,
the delegation also spent the day learning about the work of KKL-JNF.
“We are hopeful that this visit will lead to immediate cooperation between KKL-JNF and the village in projects of forestation and ecological preservation,” said KKL-JNF European Desk manager Moria Gilbert.
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