Exhibits from Akhbar-i Amri-yi magazine

Exhibit No. 7

pages 321-322

... As soon as this news was published, British Colonial Secretary Mr. Winston Churchill sent a cable message to the Palestine special envoy, Sir Herbert Samuel, asking him to "convey His Majesty's sympathies to the Bahá’i community". Viscount Allenby, the special envoy in Egypt, extended his condolences, as follows, through the Palestine special envoy:

"Convey my sincere condolences to the survivors of the late Sir `Abdu’l-Bahá, Abbas Effendi, and the Bahá’i community on the occasion of his demise."...

Exhibit No. 8

page 325

... Sir Herbert Samuel, the Palestine special envoy, upon hearing of His Holiness's demise, sent a message to his surviving family, expressing his request to attend the funeral personally in order to extend his respects....

Exhibit No. 10

Akhbar-i Amri-yi magazine, No. 5, page 12

... The head of the Bahá’i International Assembly began to speak and stated that the State of Israel is considered by the Bahá’is as well as Jews, Christians and Muslims to be a holy land. Over fifty years ago, His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh wrote that Palestine would eventually become the homeland of the Jewish people. This statement was put in print and publication at that time. The meeting and the interview took place in a very sincere atmosphere, and the Minister and his colleagues, who were present, expressed their pleasure.

A colour photograph of the facade of the holy building was presented to the Minister, and he and his wife were invited to visit the holy site and the surrounding gardens whenever they traveled to Haifa.

The head and deputy of the Bahá’i International Assembly also met with the mayors of Haifa and Akka and the military ruler of Galilee. These meetings, which took place for familiarization purposes, resulted in friendly relations between the above-mentioned officials and the representatives of the Bahá’i delegation.

The Assembly head also had a very friendly meeting with Mr. Dwight Davis, U.S. Ambassador in Israel. On April 12, the Bahá’i International Assembly held a tea reception in the Bahá’i palace. This was the first official reception by the Assembly which was attended by government officials, foreign government consuls, representatives of the Ministry of Religion in Jerusalem as well as a group of friends and acquaintances.

News of the reception was desirably published in the social column of an Israeli English language newspaper, which commented on its importance and standing. It is noteworthy that formation of the Bahá’i International Assembly was publicized in different languages by various newspapers of this country, and Radio Israel, in its broadcasts, included news about the Bahá’is and greeted them on the occasions of Navrooz and Ridván festivities.

Bahá’is' books have long been available at the Jews' Library in Jerusalem, and some Bahá’i literary works and publications have recently been included in the library of the Ministry of Religions at their request. Some books have also been presented to Rabbi Meiman for his personal library. Rabbi Meiman has been conducting a research on past religions, and the said books were given at his request.

Our relationship with the Israeli government may be described in two ways: some­times we succeed in obtaining government assistance after much effort; and sometimes the government officials themselves extend their kindness towards us in a most pleasant and unexpected manner. One of the most important matters is the transfer of the room in Akka where His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh stayed for two years after his arrival in that town. Regarding this historical place which, because of the memorabilia therein, is consi­dered a sacred place by the Bahá’is, without any request by us, the government doctor, in charge of the hospital established there, informed us that he would give us the keys to His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh's room which has been allocated to the Bahá’is. This action was highly appreciated, and the room is now ready for Bahá’i visitors and local friends. The Mayor of Haifa, too, is quite ready to extend his assistance and had stated that he was ready to give all possible assistance to complete the sacred place as it would add to the popularity and importance of Haifa. This kind attitude was later exploited and, due to his efforts, the government provided facilities for fifty tons of cement. One cannot appreciate the value of such assistance unless one is a resident of this country.

The farm is one of the endowments which, according to existing laws, cannot be sold. Nevertheless, as friends are aware, the Ministry of Religions, owing to mediation by the Minister, Rabbi Meiman, agreed to turn the farm over to the Bahá’is to become a holy visiting site for the Bahá’i pilgrims. In fact we have rented this sacred place from the Israeli Ministry of Religions.

This department is headed by a rabbi called Dr. Hirshberg who, following a tea reception of him, his wife and his entourage at the western hotel, visited all the Bahá’i sites in Haifa and Akka. Having completely visited the farm, the above-named doctor and his entourage went to the Bahji Palace and looked at the collection of Amri relics, including photographs, maps, etc. complied there in a most interesting manner by His Holiness Vali Amrullah. Friends will be surprised by the news that, during the Eide Fetre holiday week, over one thousand people visited the Bahji Palace. These people, including many foreign visitors, all the students of a school as well as youths from kibbutzes, arrived by car, by bus and on foot. Dr. Hirshberg, accompanied by the head and deputy of the Bahá’i International Assembly, then travelled to Akka in a car and visited the residence of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, where he resided a number of years and wrote the holy book and other important works, as well as the Akka Mosque, where a great congregation had gathered because it was a Friday.

As soon as the crowd of believers left the mosque, the imam of the mosque came down from the altar, welcomed the visiting party and insisted that we have coffee with him, the judge and other Muslim officials in Akka in the mosque.

As can be appreciated, the holy order, which had always been favourably regarded by the officials of the new State of Israel, has now, more than ever before, found credibility and importance with them who recognize it as a public belief and religion which, although separate from other past religions, is quite like the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions at the time of the advent of Christ and other Prophets, in respect of purity and chastity.

The Bahá’i marriage licenses are now recognized by the officials of this new country, and, without any request from us, the Israeli Ministry of Education has relieved Bahá’i students all over the country from attending class on the Bahá’i holy days. This matter has been advised in a circular to all the schools.

All the under-mentioned Bahá’i institutions are exempt from government and city taxes, and items necessary for these places are imported free of customs duties: The Superior Office; the Blessed Garden; two collections of relics, one affiliated to the Superior Office, and the other next to His Holiness' sepulchre; two historic buildings, one in Bahji where His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh's ascension took place, and the other the farm palace where he stayed after departing from Akka; two houses where Their Holinesses Bahá’u’lláh and `Abdu’l-Bahá resided, one in Akka where the holy book was descended, and the other in Haifa where His Holiness `Abdu’l-Bahá's ascension took place. Also over forty acres of land surrounding the Supreme Office in Mount Carmel were exempted from taxation.

These are reasons supporting the spirit of real understanding and cooperation existing between the Bahá’i community and the Israeli officials. We want to convey this fact to the interested Jews that an interestingly pleasant process is taking place, that is to say the newest religion in the world is growing in the youngest country of the world.

(Quoted from Akhbar-i Amri-yi of U.S.A.)

The Bahá’is National Holy Assembly of U.S.A. is very pleased to inform the holy friends that three members of the Assembly, accompanied by Mrs. Emilia Collins, Deputy Chairman of the Bahá’i International Assembly met with H.E. David Ben Gurion, the Israeli Prime Minister, and his entourage at the Ambassador Hotel in Chicago on Saturday May 19.

The meeting had been arranged by Mr. Cavlin who had met the Prime Minister's secretary in New York. At the meeting, the Bahá’i representatives expressed the community's appreciation for the kind attitude and respect adopted by the leaders of the newly-established State of Israel. His Holiness Vali Amrullah assigned the National Holy Assembly to meet the Prime Minister to express the feelings of U.S. Bahá’is towards Israel.

H.E. David Ben Gurion most kindly received the Bahá’i representatives, consisting of Mrs. Emilia Collins, Miss Edna Nero, Mr. Leroy Evas and Mr. Huras Hadley, and expressed special appreciation for Mrs. Collins's holy functions carried out at the Bahá’i international centre in Israel, and invited her to visit him in Haifa upon their return. He also put some questions to her, such as: "How did the proclamation of Bahá’ism reach U.S.A.? What was the effect of His Holiness `Abdu’l-Bahá's.1912 trip to U.S.A. then and thereafter? To what extent has Bahá’ism advanced in other countries?" He also expressed his pleasure at the high thoughts and teachings of Bahá’ism, adding that the Israeli Government supported and reinforced the principle of freedom of religions. These discussions took place in an atmosphere filled with freedom and sincerity and free of any formalities.

The Bahá’i delegation presented the Prime Minister with selections of Akhbar-i Amri-yi, colour design of the Supreme Office, a framed picture of Mashriq al-Adhkar of U.S.A., and a letter from the U.S. National Holy Assembly addressed to the Prime Minister. The Bahá’i delegation considers His Excellency to enjoy an open mind and a far-sighted thought which well feels the need for religious brotherhood, forbearance and patience.

On the same day, the Prime Minister's press secretary, for the first time, released the following statement to the press and radio, describing His Excellency's meeting with the Bahá’i delegation as under:

"Mr. David Ben Gurion, the Prime Minister of Israel, this morning received four members of the Bahá’i Holy Assembly of the United States of America. The delegation expressed its gratitude for the Israeli Government's admirable treatment of the Bahá’i Religious Centre and its religious leader, His Holiness Shoghi Effendi Rabbani.

"The delegation comprised Mrs. Emilia Collins, Deputy Chairman of the Bahá’i International Assembly, which is domiciled in Haifa, Miss Edna Nero, the Assembly's stenographer, Mr. Huras Hadley and Mr. Leroy Evas, the treasurer.

"The Prime Minister and his guests talked for nearly one hour about issues of the Bahá’i faith and its expansion throughout the world. Mr. Ben Gurion showed special interest in propagation and penetration of Bahá’ism in America. It was very interesting and surprising for him to learn that there are now Bahá’i centres in over 175 cities and towns of the United States of America, and 2500 Bahá’i centres all over the world. He was also informed that the Bahá’i faith had been recognized by the United Nations as a non-governmental international organization.

"Before their departure, the Bahá’i representatives presented the Prime Minister with a photograph of the Bahá’i temple in Wilmette, which is the national prayer site of American Bahá’is, as well as a letter indicating their appreciation and gratitude for the attention paid by the Israeli Government in understanding the affairs of the Bahá’is."

The last point to be added is that H.E. the Prime Minister was sincerely invited to visit the Bahá’i Mashriq al-Adhkar. However he declined the invitation, with gratitude, due to his time having been fully taken up.

Exhibit No. 11

Akhbar-i Amri-yi magazine, publication of the Bahá’i National Assembly of Iran, Nos. 1 and 2, 1333 A.H. (1954 A.D.).

Text of letter dated April 27,1954 from Dr. Lotfollah Hakim to Bahá’u’lláh-al-Abha:

"...Days of Ridván festivities are here. I extend my sincere greetings to the respected members of the National Holy Assembly and the Local Holy Assembly and all the dear friends in Iran. On April 26, the honourable President of the State of Israel, accompanied by his wife, visited His Holiness the Regligious Leader's house at 9.30 a.m. and was received at a reception to tea and cakes attended by His Holiness Amatu’l-Bahá. The President asked His Holiness several questions, to which sufficient replies were given. Thence, accompanied by their Holinesses, he visited the Holy Supreme Office and the residence of His Holiness `Abdu’l-Bahá.

"On April 27, the Israeli newspapers reported this visit. The news item appearing in the Jerusalem Post is attached herewith.

"Translation of the article in the Jerusalem Post dated April 27, 1954:

The Israeli President's meeting with the Bahá’i religious leader:

Haifa - Monday - The President of Israel, accompanied by his wife, this morning paid a visit to Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, the Bahá’i religious leader, as well as to the Bahá’i holy sites on Mount Carmel.

"Initially, Mr. Charles Mason Remey, Chairman of the International Bahá’i Board, and Mr. Leroy Evas, Secretary-General of the Board, met the President and his wife at the Makido Hotel, from where they took him to His Holiness Shoghi Rabbani. There they had tea and Iranian cakes, and the President was presented with a silver-bound album, containing colour pictures of the Bahá’i holy places in Israel, as a remembrance.

"At this meeting, the President and the Bahá’i religious leader talked about the effect of faith in the human community. His Holiness Shoghi Rabbani said that he hoped the world Bahá’i centre in Israel could be continuously and increasingly effective in the country's progress and the welfare of its people. He also mentioned the fact that the Bahá’is had always had sincere relations with the Haifa government since the establish­ment of the State of Israel."

Exhibit No. 12

Akhbar-i Amri-yi magazine. No. 8, 1343 AH. (1964 A.D.)

The Israeli President's visit to the Bahá’i Centre

HE. Zalman Shazar, President of Israel, accompanied by his wife, the Mayor of Haifa and his wife and a number of other officials of the State of Israel, on April 7,1964 paid an official visit to the Bahá’i Centre. HE. the President and his entourage were welcomed by members of the Centre, and visited the gardens of the Supreme Office. On this occasion. H.E. the President greeted friends all over the world. Some time later, as a remembrance of the visit, an album containing pictures of the visit by the President to the Bahá’i Centre, was presented to him. The beautiful album was guilded-bound, in the mid­dle of which was an enamelled Persian miniature.

Having received the album, in a letter. HE. the President expressed his hearty thanks and renewed his message of friendship and goodwill to the Bahá’i world community.

New Ceremonies at Albert Hall

In memory of the late Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, a memorial service was held at Albert Hall attended by the British Prime Minister and members of the cabinet as well as a number of diplomats and representatives from all over the world. Bahá’i prayers were read by a member of the Bahá’i community in Britain.

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