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Old 01-25-2011, 12:39 PM   #1
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Unity and intercultural...not for all?

Hi dear brothers in Humanity,

I'm really interested in the Bahai faith, for many reasons I won't explain here. I can account for a good knowledge of judaism and islam, I'm an Hebrew and Arabic speaker among other tongues, living in France know, and of Israeli citizenship. I've been moved and touched by the universal and rational message of the bahai faith... until I heard (and read) that Israeli Bahai are "compelled" (by who?) to live as exiled and shamefull people if they embrace the Bahai faith, and only them, and no other people on the face of the Earth.

This is quite puzzling, especially when you know that Israel is the only country in the middle east where you can find freedom of faith, and where bahais are in danger of losing their life for being bahai.

I read some strange explanations. But I don't understand, as an Hebrew speaker, as somebody who think his Israeli culture is part of the Humanity, why an Israeli bahai couldn't live his faith freely? What is the problem? And why an Egyptian bahai could remain Egyptian and visit Egypt (even if bahai lives are really in danger there), and a Swedish bahai could do, etc.

Some wrote a strange argument: Israel is considered in the mind of some misinformed people as a "religious state", which it is of course not (even if religion plays a role, notably in personal status stuff like wedding, and orthodox judaism can make things pretty anoying, etc.). It's perhaps the less religious state in all Middle East! What about all the Arab and muslim states which are really religious? A Moroccan converting to bahai faith can stay in Morocco (where religious freedom is still a dream) but not an Israeli bahai in Israel? Where are the universal teaching and the need to preserve nations and cultures?

I feel a bit sad to discover that even bahai people can't consider Israeli and Jewish people as equal and simple humans, and their culture as part as humanity. I know many Israelis (from Jewish origin) who convert to christianity, and nobody ask them to negate their Hebrew culture and their life...

Please somebody can give me the precises references of the assertion that you can't be an Israeli living in Israel, eating falafel and speaking Hebrew (I'm sarcastic here) and a at the same time a bahai.

If I decide to declare myself as a bahai, and to continue to visit my friends and family in Israel, and maybe to resettle there, can still I say that I'm a bahai or should I forget about bahai faith?

Thank you for your attention guys!

Brotherly yours,

Benjamin
 
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:15 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin View Post
Hi dear brothers in Humanity,

I'm really interested in the Bahai faith, for many reasons I won't explain here. I can account for a good knowledge of judaism and islam, I'm an Hebrew and Arabic speaker among other tongues, living in France know, and of Israeli citizenship. I've been moved and touched by the universal and rational message of the bahai faith... until I heard (and read) that Israeli Bahai are "compelled" (by who?) to live as exiled and shamefull people if they embrace the Bahai faith, and only them, and no other people on the face of the Earth.

This is quite puzzling, especially when you know that Israel is the only country in the middle east where you can find freedom of faith, and where bahais are in danger of losing their life for being bahai.

I read some strange explanations. But I don't understand, as an Hebrew speaker, as somebody who think his Israeli culture is part of the Humanity, why an Israeli bahai couldn't live his faith freely? What is the problem? And why an Egyptian bahai could remain Egyptian and visit Egypt (even if bahai lives are really in danger there), and a Swedish bahai could do, etc.

Some wrote a strange argument: Israel is considered in the mind of some misinformed people as a "religious state", which it is of course not (even if religion plays a role, notably in personal status stuff like wedding, and orthodox judaism can make things pretty anoying, etc.). It's perhaps the less religious state in all Middle East! What about all the Arab and muslim states which are really religious? A Moroccan converting to bahai faith can stay in Morocco (where religious freedom is still a dream) but not an Israeli bahai in Israel? Where are the universal teaching and the need to preserve nations and cultures?

I feel a bit sad to discover that even bahai people can't consider Israeli and Jewish people as equal and simple humans, and their culture as part as humanity. I know many Israelis (from Jewish origin) who convert to christianity, and nobody ask them to negate their Hebrew culture and their life...

Please somebody can give me the precises references of the assertion that you can't be an Israeli living in Israel, eating falafel and speaking Hebrew (I'm sarcastic here) and a at the same time a bahai.

If I decide to declare myself as a bahai, and to continue to visit my friends and family in Israel, and maybe to resettle there, can still I say that I'm a bahai or should I forget about bahai faith?

Thank you for your attention guys!

Brotherly yours,

Benjamin
To my dearest elder brother in humanity Benjamin,

I feel your pain Benjamin. To begin, I must tell you that the Baha'i Faith does not in any way, shape or form consider Israelis as being anything less than brothers in humanity. The Baha'i scriptures have many wonderful and compassionate things to say about Judaism and the Jewish people. Moses is revered as a Manifestation of God. Abdu'l-Baha, particularly, had a high regard for Jews. At his funeral, there were representatives from the Jewish faith present to pay their respects to him. Many of the first Hungarian Baha'is were of Jewish origin, and most of them were deported to concentration camps - Baha'is, I assure you, do not forget the sufferings of these dear Jewish Baha'i brothers who perished under the Nazis and who testified in their lives to the truth of Baha'u'llah's revelation, and more so in the horror and tragic injustice of their deaths.

Abdu'l-Baha predicted the return of the Jews to Israel and the formation of the Jewish State, in accordance with God's promises in the Bible and his mercy and compassion for his children who had endured millenias of exile and abuse. The following Tablet revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá provides a perspective in which to view your Jewish heritage from the Bahá'í standpoint, extrapolating both the spiritual dimensions and literal significance of Israel for people of Jewish heritage:

"You have asked Me a question with regard to the gathering of the children of Israel in Jerusalem, in accordance with prophecy. "Jerusalem, the Holy of Holies, is a revered Temple, a sublime name, for it is the City of God... The gathering of Israel at Jerusalem means, therefore, and prophesies, that Israel as a whole, is gathering beneath the banner of God and will enter the Kingdom of the Ancient of Days. For the celestial Jerusalem, which has as its center the Holy of Holies, is; a City of the Kingdom, a Divine City. The East and West are but a small corner of that City. "Moreover, materially as well (as spiritually), the Israelites will all gather in the Holy Land. This is irrefutable prophecy, for the ignominy which Israel has suffered for wellnigh twenty-five hundred years will now be changed into eternal glory, and in the eyes of all, the Jewish people will become glorified to such an extent as to draw the jealousy of its enemies and the envy of its friends." (Abdu'l-Bahá revealed this tablet in 1897 to a Jewish community in the Orient)

The Jewish people have suffered enormously during nearly 2,000 years of exile from their beloved homeland, and those who sought to justify their evil actions have at different times victimized them by appeals to religion - both Christianity and Islam. I can tell you now that Bahá'ís sympathize deeply with the victims of that outrageous, indefensible suffering and outright condemn anti-semitism, whether it be Christian, Islamic, Fascist or otherwise.

Concerning the question of why Baha'is are not permitted to be domiciled habitually in Israel, I am probably not the best person to give you an answer since I am a Christian and not a Baha'i.

I understand though, the great pain that this is causing you. I count German Jews among my ancestors, and although I am not ethnically or religiously Jewish, I have always felt a strong connection to my Jewish roots and to Eretz Yisrael, the Holy Land. I can sympathise with your plight: Israel means everything to a Jew - it represents the Covenant, the Promises of God to the Patriarchs; the life and soul of the Jewish faith.

Other than what I have said above I cannot help you any further my friend. If I had it my way then I would have an exception made to this religious ordinance out of mercy, in the case of Jews, taking into consideration the primal importance the Holy Land has within the Jewish religion. However I am not a Baha'i, so I have no authority or right to make such a declaration. This law is harder upon Jews, naturally, than it is upon any other race of people in the world because of your deep affinity with Israel. I feel your pain.

Unlike other religions Baha'is have never forcibly tried to convert Jews or demean their religion. TBH I think that makes Baha'i-Jewish relations pretty unique, since certainly the two main world religions have been tarred with anti-semitism. In this way Baha'is are similar to Jews, since Jews are perhaps the only World religion today which does not seek to convert other people. You simply practice your faith and do not molest or threaten the beliefs of others. This is so very admirable and I think that most other religions could learn a thing or two from our Jewish brothers on this front.

In the words of Pope John Paul II:

"With Judaism, therefore, we (Christians) have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers, and in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.” Pope John Paul II (13 April 1986)

That is how as a Catholic view you Benjamin - as a Beloved Elder Brother in Humanity, belonging to the Mother Religion of my religion.

I can and will pray for your wellbeing

Last edited by Yeshua; 01-25-2011 at 01:31 PM.
 
Old 01-25-2011, 01:33 PM   #3
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Dear Yeshua!

Thank you for your kind and warm message. Actually, my situation is a bit more complicated as technically I'm not Jew (my mother is not Jew, she is a French from catholic background), and I am an Israeli (and French) citizen. And I feel attached to Israel as a modern state, as the only place you can speak Hebrew (a language I love), and to it's culture, as it is a part of me. It's like if you were asked to forget all about what you know in English and the UK (language, country, music, culture, habits, food...).

My problem is more on the principle. I could be ready to give up many things in this life, for good. But I just don't understand how for the sake a a universal faith one country and one citizenship is considered as different in a bad way... It just sound like a terrible contradiction and totally illogical.

That's why I asked where theses statements comes from. The Baha'Ullah never knew the modern State of Israel and most of the modern present States, so why putting in his mouth things he apparently never said. Especially when we know how tolerant and loving he was.

I pray for your wellbeing as well dear Yeshua!
 
Old 01-25-2011, 01:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin View Post
Dear Yeshua!

Thank you for your kind and warm message. Actually, my situation is a bit more complicated as technically I'm not Jew (my mother is not Jew, she is a French from catholic background), and I am an Israeli (and French) citizen. And I feel attached to Israel as a modern state, as the only place you can speak Hebrew (a language I love), and to it's culture, as it is a part of me. It's like if you were asked to forget all about what you know in English and the UK (language, country, music, culture, habits, food...).

My problem is more on the principle. I could be ready to give up many things in this life, for good. But I just don't understand how for the sake a a universal faith one country and one citizenship is considered as different in a bad way... It just sound like a terrible contradiction and totally illogical.

That's why I asked where theses statements comes from. The Baha'Ullah never knew the modern State of Israel and most of the modern present States, so why putting in his mouth things he apparently never said. Especially when we know how tolerant and loving he was.

I pray for your wellbeing as well dear Yeshua!
Ah so we share a Catholic heritage as well as a connection to Israel! How incredible! It seems that many people of Catholic background are somewhat attracted or at least sympathetic to the Baha'i Faith. That is reflected even on these forums by many people of Catholic heritage popping up - I am always pleased to see them, like long lost family members LOL Where you raised in the Jewish faith? (ie is your father Jewish?) If you are raised in Judaism you are considered Jewish, whether or not you are so ethnically. Otherise, I presume that you are probably like myself, a Gentile with Jewish heritage on your dad's side? Regardless you are an Israeli citizen and have a strong love of and affinity for the traditions and culture of your homeland.

And your analogy to Britain is right. I am a proud British citizen and it would break my heart to have to renounce my connection to this country, where my ancestors toiled and loved and breathed the air. Being British is huge a part of who I am, how I self-identify myself. Nationality, culture etc. are all things that are innate to people, just like their humanity.

And yes I agree, Baha'u'llah was very tolerant and loving, which is why I am convinced that somehow this situation will work itself out. Baha'u'llah would want you to embrace both fully your Israeli nationality and your commitment to his religion. I am sure that in the duration of time you will find a way to be faithful to both your Israeli nationality and your future acquired faith
 
Old 01-25-2011, 01:58 PM   #5
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Thank you dear Friend!
 
Old 01-25-2011, 02:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin View Post
I feel a bit sad to discover that even bahai people can't consider Israeli and Jewish people as equal and simple humans, and their culture as part as humanity. I know many Israelis (from Jewish origin) who convert to christianity, and nobody ask them to negate their Hebrew culture and their life...

Please somebody can give me the precises references of the assertion that you can't be an Israeli living in Israel, eating falafel and speaking Hebrew (I'm sarcastic here) and a at the same time a bahai.

If I decide to declare myself as a bahai, and to continue to visit my friends and family in Israel, and maybe to resettle there, can still I say that I'm a bahai or should I forget about bahai faith?
Thank you for your attention guys!

Brotherly yours,

Benjamin
Hi Benjamin,

My understanding is that, because of Israeli laws, it is teaching the Baha'i faith in Israel that is not permitted and therefore, if an Israeli wants to join the Bahai faith, they are supposed to do so outside of Israel. As far as I know this is the only thing that applies uniquely to Israelis and I have never heard anything else like what you mention in your post.

I'm quite sure you must have incorrect information regarding this matter and I hope one of the more knowledgeable Bahais can clarify the matter.
 
Old 01-25-2011, 02:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by whine of astonsihment View Post
Hi Benjamin,

My understanding is that, because of Israeli laws, it is teaching the Baha'i faith in Israel that is not permitted and therefore, if an Israeli wants to join the Bahai faith, they are supposed to do so outside of Israel. As far as I know this is the only thing that applies uniquely to Israelis and I have never heard anything else like what you mention in your post.

I'm quite sure you must have incorrect information regarding this matter and I hope one of the more knowledgeable Bahais can clarify the matter.
Hi Whine

It is not to do with Israeli laws. The policy was stated by Baha'u'llah long before the state of Israel existed that there is to be no teaching of the faith in the Holy Land and no Baha'i community in the Holy Land. It is defined in Baha'i scripture. It does not apply uniquely to Israelis, who did not have a state at the time of Baha'u'llah. It is binding on all Baha'is. I do not know the exact quote.

However he following tablet seems to indicate that Baha’u'llah intended Palestine to have a unique role in the future, as a land dedicated to God:

… Leave hath, moreover, been given to whosoever may desire to raise, throughout the length and breadth of this land, noble and imposing structures, and dedicate the rich and sacred territories adjoining the Jordan and its vicinity to the worship and service of the one true God, magnified be His glory, that the prophecies recorded by the Pen of the Most High in the sacred Scriptures may be fulfilled, and that which God, the Lord of all worlds, hath purposed in this most exalted, this most holy, this mighty, and wondrous Revelation may be made manifest.

We have, of old, uttered these words: Spread thy skirt, O Jerusalem! Ponder this in your hearts, O people of Baha, and render thanks unto your Lord, the Expounder, the Most Manifest.
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u'llah, p. 116)

Last edited by Yeshua; 01-25-2011 at 03:00 PM.
 
Old 01-25-2011, 03:37 PM   #8
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Well, I find this all about as clear as mud if what the UHJ has written regarding Israeli citizens is based purely on what Baha'u'llah wrote before the state of Israel even existed - and nothing else.

I don't know if Israelis have 'dual citizenship' as I do in both Canada and Greece or whether this might make a difference but without a better understanding of the 'why' behind everything I can't blame Benjamin for his question and need for clarification.

It must have more to do with the present day social and political realities of Israel than any 'principle' of the Baha'i faith and should indeed be resolved with proper fairness and justice in the future... soon I hope!
 
Old 01-25-2011, 03:57 PM   #9
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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From Yahoo

Why did Bahaullah prohibit Baha'is from spreading their religion in Palestine/Israel?
I'm a Palestinian myself and was thinking of conversion. But I was shocked when I knew that such a religion which is supposed to accept all mankind closed its doors in the faces of the inhabitants of Israel/Palestine (whether they are Palestinian or Israeli)... Being a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon myself, I feel unwelcomed in the faith... why is it so?

"...the people in Israel have access to factual information about the Faith, its history and general principles. Books concerning the Faith are available in libraries throughout Israel, and Israelis are welcome to visit the Shrines and the surrounding gardens. However, in keeping with a policy that has been strictly followed since the days of Bahá'u'lláh, Bahá'ís do not teach the Faith in Israel. Likewise, the Faith is not taught to Israelis abroad if they intend to return to Israel. When Israelis ask about the Faith, their questions are answered, but this is done in a manner which provides factual information without stimulating further interest.""

Best Answer - Chosen by Voters
Hi,

I am so glad that you're asking this question and the seriousness and earnestness you wish to declare your belief. I am also deeply saddened that due to such circumstances your personal self will feel unwelcomed to being a formally declared Baha'i.

Know that challenges often abound that cannot often be answered off-hand. This direction not to teach the Faith in Israel has been in place since the Time of Baha'u'llah, however it can be repealed in due time.

I can only ostulate: that the reason is that this region has always been a hotbed of conflict amongst religion, and at this given juncture, any movement in the land might see the present day authority turn an unfavourable eye to the situation of the World Center being in that country or if not an even more unpleasant situation might occur (see next para)
The Cradle of the Baha'i Faith is in Iran, and although there are over a half a million Baha'is in Tehran itself, the persecution they endure is enormous, and all buildings with the closest relation to the Faith have been demolished or left in ruin. Unfortunately most times, the charges they are persecuted on are conspiracy to collude with the Zionist Movement (as the Baha'i World Center is in Haifa, as you know) - it's a no win situation- Teaching the Faith in Israel either incur the wrath of the host or if the host warms to the Baha'is the Cradlekeepers will be martyred!

That being said, oftentimes True Lovers go through the most arduous of tests and the most lengthy challenges, and it is only through the heat of fire that the strength of gold is known. Stay strong, and know that the only necessity to be a Baha'i is in the very introduction of the Kitab-i-Aqdas
1. Accept Baha'u'llah as the latest Manifestation of God for this Day and Age
2. Try to follow the ordinances laid down by God to the best of your abilities

P.S. Use facebook! try to connect ---

In the meantime, I recommend the Kitab-i-Iqan (Book of Certitude, see link below), and the Seven Valleys.
Source(s):
http://books.google.com/books?id=qRhR2vY…
 
Old 01-25-2011, 03:58 PM   #10
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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From Yahoo

Why did Bahaullah prohibit Baha'is from spreading their religion in Palestine/Israel?
I'm a Palestinian myself and was thinking of conversion. But I was shocked when I knew that such a religion which is supposed to accept all mankind closed its doors in the faces of the inhabitants of Israel/Palestine (whether they are Palestinian or Israeli)... Being a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon myself, I feel unwelcomed in the faith... why is it so?

"...the people in Israel have access to factual information about the Faith, its history and general principles. Books concerning the Faith are available in libraries throughout Israel, and Israelis are welcome to visit the Shrines and the surrounding gardens. However, in keeping with a policy that has been strictly followed since the days of Bahá'u'lláh, Bahá'ís do not teach the Faith in Israel. Likewise, the Faith is not taught to Israelis abroad if they intend to return to Israel. When Israelis ask about the Faith, their questions are answered, but this is done in a manner which provides factual information without stimulating further interest.""

Best Answer - Chosen by Voters
Hi,

I am so glad that you're asking this question and the seriousness and earnestness you wish to declare your belief. I am also deeply saddened that due to such circumstances your personal self will feel unwelcomed to being a formally declared Baha'i.

Know that challenges often abound that cannot often be answered off-hand. This direction not to teach the Faith in Israel has been in place since the Time of Baha'u'llah, however it can be repealed in due time.

I can only ostulate: that the reason is that this region has always been a hotbed of conflict amongst religion, and at this given juncture, any movement in the land might see the present day authority turn an unfavourable eye to the situation of the World Center being in that country or if not an even more unpleasant situation might occur (see next para)
The Cradle of the Baha'i Faith is in Iran, and although there are over a half a million Baha'is in Tehran itself, the persecution they endure is enormous, and all buildings with the closest relation to the Faith have been demolished or left in ruin. Unfortunately most times, the charges they are persecuted on are conspiracy to collude with the Zionist Movement (as the Baha'i World Center is in Haifa, as you know) - it's a no win situation- Teaching the Faith in Israel either incur the wrath of the host or if the host warms to the Baha'is the Cradlekeepers will be martyred!

That being said, oftentimes True Lovers go through the most arduous of tests and the most lengthy challenges, and it is only through the heat of fire that the strength of gold is known. Stay strong, and know that the only necessity to be a Baha'i is in the very introduction of the Kitab-i-Aqdas
1. Accept Baha'u'llah as the latest Manifestation of God for this Day and Age
2. Try to follow the ordinances laid down by God to the best of your abilities

P.S. Use facebook! try to connect ---

In the meantime, I recommend the Kitab-i-Iqan (Book of Certitude, see link below), and the Seven Valleys.
Source(s):
http://books.google.com/books?id=qRhR2vY…
 
Old 01-25-2011, 04:04 PM   #11
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:32 PM   #12
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Ezekiel 39:7 "'I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel.

Ezekiel 39:7 "It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day I have spoken of".
 
Old 01-26-2011, 12:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yeshua View Post
Hi Whine

It is not to do with Israeli laws. The policy was stated by Baha'u'llah long before the state of Israel existed that there is to be no teaching of the faith in the Holy Land and no Baha'i community in the Holy Land. It is defined in Baha'i scripture. It does not apply uniquely to Israelis, who did not have a state at the time of Baha'u'llah. It is binding on all Baha'is. I do not know the exact quote.
Two thing need to be separated: (1) that there is no "teaching" the Bahai Faith in Israel; this was a ruling of Baha'u'llah and it originally applied to the province of Syria which included Palestine. (2) That Bahais are not to live permanently in the state of Israel: this was a decision of the Guardian, who asked the Bahai community which existed then to leave, after World War II. Until then, there had been a Persian-speaking Bahai community in Israel. I don't know if any reason was given, but I can speculate with the best... I also do not know what the present purpose of the rule is, which might not be identical with the purpose in the time of Shoghi Effendi.

Any Israeli citizen wishing to become a Bahai should write to the UHJ, detailing his/her situation, needs and wants, and get a specific ruling. It might for example be fine to have second residence in Israel, but one's official residence and taxpayer status in another country.

Benjamin - there are not so many fluent Hebrew speakers in the Bahai community. Let the World Centre know about your abilities and see what comes of it

Last edited by Sen McGlinn; 01-26-2011 at 01:30 AM. Reason: added line to Benjamin
 
Old 01-26-2011, 04:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sen McGlinn View Post
Two thing need to be separated: (1) that there is no "teaching" the Bahai Faith in Israel; this was a ruling of Baha'u'llah and it originally applied to the province of Syria which included Palestine. (2) That Bahais are not to live permanently in the state of Israel: this was a decision of the Guardian, who asked the Bahai community which existed then to leave, after World War II. Until then, there had been a Persian-speaking Bahai community in Israel. I don't know if any reason was given, but I can speculate with the best... I also do not know what the present purpose of the rule is, which might not be identical with the purpose in the time of Shoghi Effendi.

Any Israeli citizen wishing to become a Bahai should write to the UHJ, detailing his/her situation, needs and wants, and get a specific ruling. It might for example be fine to have second residence in Israel, but one's official residence and taxpayer status in another country.

Benjamin - there are not so many fluent Hebrew speakers in the Bahai community. Let the World Centre know about your abilities and see what comes of it
Ah I see! Thank you Sen

So it was Shoghi Effendi who said there should be no Baha'i community in Israel. Couldn't this just be interpreted as something to do with the political and social climate of his day? Perhaps it had something to do with the immediate birth of the state of Israel in 1948 and the Arab-Israeli Conflict then afterall? I think there must be some degree of flexibility in the interpretation of this ordinance, particularly if it is to be seen as permanent. I mean if it is permanent, and the whole world does eventually become Baha'i, then are we to believe that every single Israeli and Palestinian has to leave Israel/Palestine?
 
Old 01-26-2011, 10:14 AM   #15
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It actually I think can be said to go back to the time of Baha'u'llah when the Baha'is were exiled to Akka and bahji area unjder the Ottomans..

So there is no effort made to "teach" the Faith in the Holy land and there are laws against proselytizing there.

My understanding is that Israelis who want to become Baha'is must do so after they leave the Holy Land and as Sen wrote above they likely have to apply to the House of Justice.

As far as the comment above:

"...until I heard (and read) that Israeli Bahai are "compelled" (by who?) to live as exiled and shamefull people if they embrace the Bahai faith, and only them, and no other people on the face of the Earth."

There is no shamefulness intended at all for this.. I think though there is a sensitivity for the laws of Israel and a desire not to appear to proselytize in anyway there ..

The administrative center of the Bahá'í Faith and the Shrine of the Báb are located at the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa and the leader of the faith is buried in Acre. Apart from maintenance staff, there is no Bahá'í community in Israel, although it is a destination for pilgrimages. Bahá'í staff in Israel do not teach their faith to Israelis following strict policy

- Wikipedia

I believe there's a special Israeli department for Baha'i affairs.

1995-06-23


The Universal House of Justice has received your email message dated 29 June 1995 and we have been asked to respond.

You have asked how the policy of not teaching Israelis applies in the situation in which you have contact with an Israeli via an "interactive relay chat" (IRC) connection. The House of Justice has not asked the friends to avoid contact with Israelis. When you discover that a person you are in contact with via IRC is an Israeli, you should feel free to maintain friendly contact, but you should not teach the Faith to him. If he has already developed a personal interest in the Faith and seeks more information, you should refer him to the Offices of the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa.

For your information, the people in Israel have access to factual information about the Faith, its history and general principles. Books concerning the Faith are available in libraries throughout Israel, and Israelis are welcome to visit the Shrines and the surrounding gardens. However, in keeping with a policy that has been strictly followed since the days of Bahá'u'lláh, Bahá'ís do not teach the Faith in Israel. Likewise, the Faith is not taught to Israelis abroad if they intend to return to Israel. When Israelis ask about the Faith, their questions are answered, but this is done in a manner which provides factual information without stimulating further interest.


With loving Bahá'í greetings,
Department of the Secretariat

Last edited by arthra; 01-26-2011 at 10:23 AM.
 
Old 01-26-2011, 11:53 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yeshua View Post
Ah I see! Thank you Sen

So it was Shoghi Effendi who said there should be no Baha'i community in Israel. Couldn't this just be interpreted as something to do with the political and social climate of his day? Perhaps it had something to do with the immediate birth of the state of Israel in 1948 and the Arab-Israeli Conflict then afterall? I think there must be some degree of flexibility in the interpretation of this ordinance, particularly if it is to be seen as permanent. I mean if it is permanent, and the whole world does eventually become Baha'i, then are we to believe that every single Israeli and Palestinian has to leave Israel/Palestine?
I can speculate too - it might have had something to do with the presence of estranged descendants of Baha'u'llah there;

or with the possibility that a Bahai community resident in Israel would mix the relations between the Bahai Faith as a global religion with its world centre in Israel and the state - a 'diplomatic'-level relationship - and the relations between Israel and its Bahai citizens;

or with the perceived risk (which came true) that Bahais in the Middle East would be persecuted just because their world centre was in Israel, how much more if there were Bahais there;

or with disapproval of the idea of a state for the Jewish people (modern states have to be for all residents, not especially for one type);

or disapproval of zionism as the new state ideology'

or because a local Bahai community would, at least in the second generation, mean Bahais in the Israeli armed forces, which act not only for defence but also to maintain an occupation;

or it might be a stand on principle that the Bahai faith sees itself as a full equal to its sister religions, but the Israeli state does not treat it as such (Shoghi Effendi would not attend functions where he, as head of the Bahai Faith, would be treated as a second-rank guest)

or

or

Whatever the reason and purpose was, and is today, since it was a decision of Shoghi Effendi as Head of the Faith, it can be changed by the UHJ which is the present Head of the Faith. But not teaching the Faith in the area is scriptural, only the boundaries of the ban on teaching can be changed.
 
Old 01-29-2011, 08:33 AM   #17
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Hello dear friends,

First of all, I'm happy my questions raised many more interrogations, and that this subject interested you. In fact, it's not just a question concerning Israeli or Palestinian bahais, but a question that raise many broader questions concerning the bahai faith.

I'll try to answer to some of the answers that you proposed here.

Dear Whine, you wrote: "My understanding is that, because of Israeli laws, it is teaching the Baha'i faith in Israel that is not permitted"
Teaching of the bahai faith is of course permitted in Israel, and it's maybe the only country in Middle East where it is so. Of course many orthodox Jews and observant Jews, and muslim Arabs, don't like it, and it's not as easy than doing it in New York. I'm not trying here to say that Israel is great and other countries sucks, what I'm trying to say is that it couldn't be the reason. And even if the bahai faith was not permitted there, it's not permitted in most muslim countries and the problem of emigrating is not raised there.

Dear Yeshua, you wrote about the Baha'u'llah being forbidden to teach in the Holy Land. But the expression "Holy Land", and then from 1920 Palestine, correspond to present day Israel, Jordan, Gaza Strip, West Bank. Speaking about Holy Land, we could add some south parts of Lebanon. So if this is the reason this should apply logically to Jordanian people as well, is this the case?

Dear Sen, do you know if this rule apply also for Syrian peoples? As you mentioned indeed Baha'u'llah spoke about the Great Syria...

Dear Tonyfish, thanks for your links! I thought that bahai don't engage in narrow-minded politics, they don't need to take a stance against of pro-Israel, and the threat of being prosecuted by the Iranian regime could be used for anything then. Then Ahmadinejad could threaten the Arabic bahais because the Ayatollah's regime is in conflict with a part of the Arab world. But a universal faith can't base it's fundamental doctrines upon fear from despotic regimes, no? So I'm a bit puzzled with that...
But I agree with your last words from the introduction of Kitaab al aqdas!

Dear Sen,
You wrote the hypothesis that this stance could be due by a “disapproval of the idea of a state for the Jewish people (modern states have to be for all residents, not especially for one type)”. First of all, the Israeli state is, at least in theory, for all Israelis. Jews of all the world can become automatically Israelis if they want to, but until they don’t immigrate to Israel they are not Israelis, can’t vote, don’t pay taxes, and have nothing to do with Israel.

Of course, there are many discriminations, and as an Israeli I’m only more sad and ashamed of the fact that Israeli Arabs (for instance) are not always considered as “equals” in practice –and by the way as an Israeli non-Jew I know what I’m talking about. Still, you can find these kind of discriminations in many countries however, and far worst in the neighbouring countries.
It can’t be indeed the reason for not being a bahai community in Israel, as Arab states are founded on a similar basis than Israel as they are Arab ethnic states: for instance Kurdish people in Syria or Amazigh people in Algeria don’t have any collective or cultural rights –whereas in Israel Arabic is an official language such as Hebrew. I don’t even talk about religious minorities –among them bahais- who suffer in the Arab and Islamic world and don’t have the basic right of practising their religion…

You mentioned that “a local Bahai community would, at least in the second generation, mean Bahais in the Israeli armed forces, which act not only for defence but also to maintain an occupation”. First of all, many communities in Israel are not compelled to do the army, as muslims and Arab Christians, so it wouldn’t be a problem for bahai to ask not to serve. Secondly, Israel is not the only country in the world where compulsory army exist, and not the only country in the world where the UN consider to be an occupation (Turkey with Cyprus, Marocco with the Western Sahara, Russia, US, etc.).

To sum up, whatever the reason is, I think that today there is no real reason for not allowing (from the bahai side at least) a community to establish and have a normal life there.
The time of the Ottoman Empire is indeed over: there is no more need to abide by a decision bounding only with the Ottoman rulers. The modern states of the area are not the Ottoman administration. And I would say that the bahai faith, the bahai universal feelings and values could especially in that part of the world play a key role by putting closer Israelis and Arabs. If there is a place where we need more bahais, it would be in Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the other countries of the region.

Last but not least, here is the real question: If I decide to join the bahai faith, and to live in Israel of at least to keep a strong tie there, and develop material in Hebrew about that, do the International House of Justice will try to oppose me or consider me as a non-bahai person, or not? What are your opinions guys?

Brotherly yours,

Benjamin
 
Old 01-29-2011, 09:26 AM   #18
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If you decide to join the Bahai community, I suggest you write personally to the House of Justice for a decision specifically for you. Take them into your confidence, so that they understand where you are coming from, what your attachments are, and also tell them about your abilities (Hebrew speaking!).

I do not know how the boundaries of the no-teaching rule have changed over time. The original referred I think to Syria, which (since that province no longer exists, nor the Empire it was part of), is vague enough to allow the Head of the Faith to decide from time to time what it means.
 
Old 01-29-2011, 09:38 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Ezekiel 39:7 "'I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel.

Ezekiel 39:7 "It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day I have spoken of".
See, but in the Torah, Israel is not yet a country. It actually means "He whom strives with God", this is somewhat misleading.

Baha'u'llah seems to answer the first prophecy, however, in that Baha is Gods name and has been revealed to the faithful and due to its prevalence is surely not profane anymore.
 
Old 01-29-2011, 09:50 AM   #20
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Dear Sen, thank you!
Did you heard about Syrian bahais?

Dear Lunitik,
I'm not talking about the biblical Israel, I'm talking about the modern state of Israel, as a democratic state.

Thanks..
 
Old 01-29-2011, 10:03 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin View Post
I'm not talking about the biblical Israel, I'm talking about the modern state of Israel, as a democratic state.
I know, but I was responding to another poster.

I find it strange that a Baha'i would be forbidden from worshiping in Israel, however, since this is where some of our most holy places are located and where the Universal House of Justice is. In fact, Baha'is are obligated to pilgrimage to Israel at least once in their life if their means permits.

In fact, many Baha'is uphold the fact that Baha'is have retained a place in Israel as proof of its divinity since it is written that God would not permit a false religion to take root there.

This being said, Baha'is are not permitted to proselytize anywhere in the world, and our worshiping is generally a private affair.
 
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