Sunday, June 17, 2012

Israeli Gov't renews tax-exempt status of Baha'i Center


03/20/2012 03:19

Tax arrangement was originally agreed upon between the state and the Bahai movement in 1987.

The Justice Ministry announced on Monday that it has renewed a deal with the Bahai World Center in Israel exempting it from indirect taxes for another five-year term.

The announcement comes ahead of the holiday of Naw-Ruz, the Bahai New Year that takes place on Wednesday. The tax arrangement was originally agreed upon between the state and the Bahai movement in 1987.

Representatives of the Bahai faith, headed by Albert Lincoln, the secretary-general of the center, welcomed the signing of the agreement, which he said benefits both Israel and the Bahai community.

The implementation of the agreement is supervised by an interministerial committee, headed by the director of the Justice Ministry, Dr. Guy Rotkoff, who approved the continuation of the arrangement.

The Bahai have been a recognized religious community in Israel since 1971.

The government will transfer funds equivalent to any indirect outlays incurred by the World Bahai Center or any of its associated non-profit organizations for activities it carries out in operating and developing the sites.

Rotkoff underlined the importance of the relationship with the Bahai center, especially for the activities that it has done to help develop the Galilee region.

It is so good that the Tax exemption has been RENEWED by the Government of Israel. Now while Informing the Bahais about this RENEWED relationship the BELOVED HOUSE OF JUSTICE need not write CONFIDENTIAL.

• Why not freedom of teaching the Bahai Faith to the Jews citizen of Israel?

• Why the citizen of Israel should be deprived of the HEALING MESSAGE OF BAHA'U'LLAH?

• Why the Children and Jr. Youth of Israel should be deprived of opportunity of becoming a good human being and achieving excellence in material, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of life through our STUDY CIRCLES, CHILDREN MORAL CLASSES and JR. YOUTH EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMMES.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dear Dr. Albert Lincoln

Dr. Albert Lincoln, Secretary-General, Bahá’í World Centre. Dr. Lincoln was born in the United States in 1945. He is a direct descendent of the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, and a more distant relative of the sixteenth, Abraham Lincoln.

In 1994 he was appointed Secretary-General of the Haifa-based Bahá’í International Community. In this role, which is a form of volunteer service to the community, offered without remuneration, Dr. Lincoln has been responsible for the relations between the Bahá’í World Centre and all religions and communities in Israel. Noteworthy milestones in his sixteen-year period of service include the inscription of the Bahá’í sites in Haifa and Akko on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List in 2008.

Over the years Dr. Lincoln’s efforts toward achieving equality and human brotherhood have been based on a positive view of diversity. This approach has earned much recognition, as expressed in the Tolerance Medal that he received from the District Governor of the Rotary Clubs in Israel in 2004 and the Award of Merit given by the Beit Hagefen Arab-Jewish Center in 2005.

Since 2000 the Department of Middle Eastern History and the Bahá’í World Centre under Dr. Lincoln’s leadership have collaborated in a series of public lectures on the Bahá’í Faith, opening the Bahá’í Community to the general public in Israel and contributing to the bridge of understanding between religions.

During his professional career, Dr. Lincoln worked as a lawyer in four countries (France, Central African Republic, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire), three languages, and many different fields of the law, ranging from human rights, intellectual property and natural resources to torts and criminal law.

Dear Dr. Lincoln - Success will depend upon whether the Bahá’í World Centre and the State of Israel have agreed for giving freedom of teaching the Bahá’í Faith in Israel and to the citizen of Israel. Merely by making some arrangements of public lectures, establishing Chair for Bahá’í Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and bridging the understanding between different religions will not be an appropriate way of giving a certificate of success to you.

What the people of Israel want is the ‘Healing Messages’ of Baha’u’llah, Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi. The Bahá’ís of Jewish Background should be given an opportunity to be heard by the UHJ and the Authorities in Israel so that we can raise our Heads in Pride and say to the world that “The Ban on Teaching of the Bahá’í Faith in Israel is lifted and now we have absolute Freedom of Teaching the Bahá’í Faith in our beloved Holy Land.”

Image Courtesy : University of Haifa

Friday, March 2, 2012

Minister Baird Visits the Bahá’í World Centre

February 6, 2012
Haifa, Israel

Foreign Affairs Minister of Canada, John Baird visited the Bahá’í World Centre in Haifa.

Minister Baird has spoken up many times for the Bahá’í community around the world, including while addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Bahá’ís continue to face persecution in Iran where its leaders are imprisoned on unfounded charges.

Speaking in London about human rights, Minister Baird said, “These abhorrent acts fly in the face of our core principals, our core values. And nowhere is religious intolerance more present than in Iran. Baha’i’s and Christians are consistently threatened with death and torture simply for believing.”

Baird used this latest opportunity to speak with Albert Lincoln, Secretary-General of the Bahá’í International Community, about the importance of religious freedom in emerging democracies and how Canada can continue to be a staunch advocate for these freedoms.

Our appeal to dear Mr. John Baird

We the Bahá'ís of Jewish background appreciate your concern about the religious freedom for Christians and Bahá'ís in Iran during your visit to our World Centre in Haifa Israel. Like you, we also believe that religious freedom is our core principal and our core values. But then why this fundamental freedom is not been given to Bahá'ís in Israel where the Christians, Muslims and Jews are allowed to teach and propagate their Faiths but the Bahá'ís are denied with this core principal and core values.

We Bahá'ís of Jewish background appeal to you to take up this very important matter with the Israeli authorities and raise this matter in the United Nations.

We are sure that by your sincere efforts these fundamental rights will be given to the Bahá'ís and the Bahá'ís will be able to teach the Jewish children and the Jewish Junior youth and give them the Healing Message of the Manifestation of this age, Bahá'u'lláh.

(Below are the two reference showing that Bahá'ís cannot teach their Faith in Israel.)

Reference 1

Universal House of Justice

Teaching the Faith in Israel

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

Reference 2

Whenever an Israeli citizen living in the West, irrespective of his background and religious affiliation, declares his belief and interest in becoming a member of the Bahá’í community ,he should be informed that the Faith is not taught in Israel and that there is no Bahá’í community there apart from those who are associated with the Bahá’í World Center. He cannot be accepted into the Bahá’í community if he is planning to return to Israel to reside there.

If he plans to continue to reside outside Israel, his enrollment can be accepted, but he will then be subject to the same restrictions about travel to Israel as any other Bahá’í, in that he could do so only with the express permission of the Universal House of Justice.

In any event, the Universal House of Justice should be informed of any such declaration.

Letter from the Universal House of Justice, dated October 20, 1994, to several National Spiritual Assemblies