“This land needs a healing energy” – Meet Lior Yom Tov, Coordinator of our Dialogue Forum

Lior Yom-Tov
As fate would have it, moving to the North brought Lior Yom-Tov closer to the South.   Up until just a year ago, Lior lived in Holon, where he had grown up as the oldest of four brothers. Lior taught at the Mikve Israel Agricultural High-School and co-managed a boarding school, while at the same completing a master’s degree at Tel Aviv University.  In 2022, to be closer to his partner Rachel, Lior moved to Haifa, and soon after moving, got in touch with an old friend who, it so happened, worked at the Arava Institute while living in Haifa. So began a friendly recruiting push to get Lior, freshly armed with a master’s in social psychology with a specialization in group trauma, to run the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies’ Dialogue Forum, the core component in the Institute’s Peacebuilding Leadership work supported through our partnership with the Glickman Family Foundation.  Lior joined the Arava Institute in August of last year, and by all accounts he has done a wonderful job. For as far back as he can remember, Lior has been drawn to the worlds of education and justice. To Lior, political justice and environmental justice are not only intertwined, but also interdependent. This aligns deeply with the spirit and mission of the Arava Institute. While the Arava Institute’s student body is multinational, Lior finds the most satisfaction in bringing together the two primary sides of the conflict in our region – Israelis and Palestinians.   Asked to reflect on what he has learned in his first semester on the job, Lior pauses before answering. “Before coming to the Arava Institute, I knew that a multinational dialogue can be very meaningful to each participant in terms of examining his or her own identity. What I’ve learned this past semester, however, is that dialogue can also serve as a space for individuals to build their identity and resilience as a community. I realized that when I saw our students cooperate in a Palestinian social justice project.”  “This land needs an energy of healing,” Lior is fond of saying. To Lior, the starting off point of healing, particularly in the context of group trauma, is dialogue.    We are extremely proud and lucky to have Lior leading the dialogue amongst all our students and wish him continued success. 

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