Saturday, February 14, 2009

Baha'is buy military base to unblock view of Bahji compound in Acre

By Jack Khoury

The Baha'i World Center recently bought an old military base blocking the view of its sacred Baji compound in Acre. It plans to create an open vista, making the compound's landscaped gardens visible from the north.

The center paid the Defense Ministry some NIS 40 million for the 90-dunam base, with structures dating back to the pre-state British Mandate era.

The deal was completed several months ago after around two years of negotiations. A source close to the deal said the talks focused mainly on the price, and that the sum was not particularly high for that part of Acre.

The Bahji gardens are the Baha'is' holiest site. They are the home of the founder of the faith, Baha'u'llah, who was exiled from Persia because of his beliefs to what was in those days isolation the land of Israel. He lived under house arrest in Acre, where his home became a pilgrimage site. This and another structure housing his tomb are surrounded by magnificent wide gardens.
The army is supposed to evacuate the base by August 2009. The Baha'is intend to clear the area, removing the obstacles to the compound's gardens, although they have not yet decided whether to expand the gardens to cover the new space.

http://www.haaretz/ .com
Fri., October 03, 2008