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Abstract:
Two editions of a book with a one-paragraph overview of Babi-Baha'i history.
Notes:
First published in 1952 under the title Israel in the series "Nations of the Modern World." Revised and republished in 1960 under the title Israel Resurgent. Both versions, which differ slightly, are included.

Israel Resurgent

by Norman Bentwich

pages 206-207
London: Ernest Benn Ltd, 1952

1. 1960 version, from the book Israel Resurgent, pp. 206-207: text

Another peculiar religious minority with a community in Israel is the Druze population. Their main centre is in Syria. The Israeli section live in the northern district, and are mostly tillers of the soil. They are sturdy and warlike, and in the War of Independence they fought on the side of Israel. Though Arabic-speaking, they had never been on happy terms with the Moslem Arabs, and lived apart. Their sect is derived from ancient races in the Middle East, and they have held fast, for a thousand years, to esoteric doctrines, which are believed to be a mixture of Semitic and Persian paganism, Islam and Christianity. According to their doctrines they are 'in the period of concealment', and may not divulge anything about their faith. They have lay and spiritual leaders, but no priests. The Ministry issues in three languages a separate bulletin on Druze Affairs in Israel, most of the articles being written by heads of the community.

A smaller sect, of Persian origin, but having its religious and spiritual centre in Palestine for more than half a century, is of the Bahais or Babis. They were formed during the nineteenth century in Persia, where a religious reformer claimed to be the forerunner of the Moslem Messiah, and assumed the title of Bab, or the Gate, because he was the Gate to the New Era. One of his Persian disciples preached a universal religious teaching in Persia, and when exiled from that country, took refuge in Turkey. The Turkish Sultan, Abdul Hamid, alarmed at the spread of the new creed, imprisoned him in the fortress of Acre, but after some years he was released, and made his home first in that town and later in Haifa. Baha-Ullah continued to preach human brotherhood, and his son Abbas, who succeeded him, spread his doctrine also in America. Father and son are buried in a beautiful garden above Haifa on the Carmel Mountain, which has become a place of pilgrimage for the members of the world community. A shrine with a gold cupola, and a hall of archives in the style of a classical Greek Temple, have been built in recent years, and are striking landmarks of Haifa's expansion on the Carmel slopes. The head of the community at the establishment of the State was Shoghi Effendi, the grandson of Sir Abbas. He died in 1956, and no member of the Persian family has taken his place. The direction of the world community is now shared by an international Spiritual Board with its seat at Haifa.

2. 1952 version, from the book Israel, pp. 183-184: text

Another religious minority with a considerable community in Israel is the Druze population of some 15,000. They live entirely in the northern district, and they are mostly tillers of the soil. They are sturdy and warlike, and in the War of Independence they fought with Israel. Though Arabic-speaking, they have never been on happy terms with the Moslem Arabs and lived apart. Their sect is derived from many ancient races in the Middle East, and they have held fast, for a thousand years, to esoteric doctrines, which are believed to be a mixture of Semitic and Persian paganism, Islam and Christianity. According to one of these doctrines they are 'in the period of concealment', and may not divulge anything about their faith. They live happily today with the Jewish settlers, and in the last election to the Assembly of Israel they returned two members.

A much smaller sect, which has also a Persian origin, but has had its religious and spiritual centre in Palestine for more than half a century, is the Bahais or Babis. They were formed during the nineteenth century in Persia, where a religious reformer claimed to be the forerunner of the Moslem Messiah and assumed the title of Bab, or the Gate, because he was the Gate to the New Era. One of his Persian disciples preached a universal religious teaching in Persia, and when exiled from that country, took refuge in Turkey. The Turkish Sultan, alarmed at the spread of the new creed, imprisoned him in the fortress at Acre, but after some years he was released and made his home first in that town and later in Haifa. Baha-Ullah continued to preach human brotherhood, and his son Abbas, who succeeded him, spread his doctrine also in America. Father and son are buried in a beautiful garden above Haifa on the Carmel Mountain, which has become a place of pilgrimage for the members of the world community. The present head of the Bahais, Shoghi Effendi, who is a grandson of Abbas, and was educated at Oxford, continues to live at Haifa, and round his house a small Bahai enclave, inhabited largely by Persians, remained undisturbed in the period of the troubles. Some of the members of the community who were sympathetic to the Arab cause took flight to the Lebanon, but most remained in Israel, and so far as their influence goes, are a factor making for interreligious understanding.

3. 1960 version, from the book Israel Resurgent, pp. 206-207: image scans

4. 1952 version, from the book Israel, pp. 183-184: image scans

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