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New to Holy Land Dialogues 2020: “HLD Talks”


At the last Holy Land Dialogues, participants expressed the desire to hear testimonies from people who live in the Holy Land during the trip, and we listened. This HLD (February 23-March 1, 2020), each evening, participants will be able to hear from and talk with speakers with inspiring stories about the Holy Land. 

The HLD Talks will consist of informal get-togethers with people from different professions and walks of life who will tell their unique perspective on living in the Holy Land. 

Without further ado, here are some of the people who will speak at HLD Talks this year.

Imad Younis was born in Nazareth, a Catholic of Arab background, and graduated from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology with a degree in electrical engineering and, in 1993, founded Alpha Omega, a worldwide company that develops and markets leading-edge equipment in the fields of functional neurosurgery and neuroscience research. 

Since Arab-Israelis constitute just 3% of the Israeli hi-tech workforce, part of his mission is to grow new leaders out of his community, especially Nazareth, so they can take the lead in shaping the society’s future. He initiates and promotes many programs that reflect his mission beliefs, with young adults and college students. He is married and is the father of three children.

Dr. Gvaryahu grew up in a politically moderate, Orthodox Jewish household. After establishing the NGO “The 12th of Cheshvan” Gadi launched Tag Meir (Spreading the Light). This NGO seeks to transcend religious divides, enlisting support from across the Israeli spectrum, from secular through Reform and Conservative to Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox. Tag Meir sees the battle against racism as a part of a campaign to support democratic values, and the very traditional Jewish values of loving our neighbours and justice for all.

Ms. Yisca Harani, an Israeli scholar of Christianity, is the recipient of the Mount Zion Award 2013 for Interreligious activity. She has researched the ceremony of the Holy Fire in Jerusalem as a focal point for religious and social identities. Ms. Harani is currently a senior lecturer at the Avshalom Institute for the Land of Israel Studies at Tel Aviv and for the Ministry of Tourism. She previously lectured at Wesleyan University, USA and is the author of guide manuals and teaching programmes on Christianity in the Holy Land. Ms. Harani has served as an adviser on Christian tourism and Christian affairs to the Ministries of Religious Affairs, Tourism and Interior Security as well as to private sectors. She is the co-founder and Project Coordinator for the Association for the Promotion of Interreligious Education in Israel.

Born in France, Henri Gourinard earned his MA in medieval history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a lecturer in historical geography and history of the Near East at the Polis Institute (Jerusalem). His main research interests are the history of pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and the birth and the evolution of traditions attached to the Holy Sites. He is currently studying at the School of Tourism (University of Haifa) to become a certified tour guide through the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. He has collaborated with Saxum on several projects, including the Visitor Center and the Emmaus Trail.

Born in Barcelona, Fr. Joaquin Paniello obtained his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Zaragoza. Over the course of 19 years in Rome, he obtained an M.A. in Philosophy, a second Ph.D. in Theology, was ordained a priest (1998) and worked in the headquarters of Opus Dei in Rome. He has been working in Jerusalem since 2010. 

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