From the Heart of Bethlehem to the Nations - Gabriel Hanna
Gabriel is the Media Director at BBC. He is very productive and dedicated to his job. He recently wrote a book entitled, Palestinian Heartbeat. I interviewed Gabriel to talk about his new book and career in general.
Gabriel Jacob Hanna, an original Bethlehemite, married to Taghreed, and together they have two beautiful boys, Amir, aged seven-years-old and Nicola, five-years-old. From student, to staff, to the Media Director at BBC, God took him through a difficult yet amazing journey.
Gabriel was a student at BBC studying theology in 1995. He received a diploma degree at first, and then he traveled to the US for three years to study music in Florida. He then came back to Bethlehem Bible College, and continued his Bachelor Degree in Biblical Studies. After, he attained his Master’s degree in Christian Leadership at BBC as well.
“I had nothing to do with journalism or media, but God opened doors for me to study mass media. Humbly, I was the best in my class; I took the highest degrees. Even in the small city of Bethlehem, God can open big doors.”
After graduating from the Mass Media Program, he came on staff at BBC. The leadership chose him to be a production assistant, a director, and a program coordinator. He was also asked to be the TV host for the programs the Mass Media Department started producing at that time, which talked about women, human rights, kids and teenagers, and different topics that the community is interested in.
Later, he became the Media Director. Gabriel always gave the glory to God in everything he accomplished. And to his second home, Bethlehem Bible College:
“I have to note here, that the Media Department was one of the first media departments in the city. We built it with our own hands. We painted the walls, put in the furniture, and everything until it became a department for developing and building the community. We started to podcast on local TV channels, and then we reached out to the Satellite TV channels, like the Palestinian Channel, Sat7 Channel, Al-Haya, and Al-Karma. We are trying to plant the seed, and the Holy Spirit will continue the work.”
Study With Us!
It is a golden opportunity for the students in Palestine to study Mass Media at the Bible College. Media is a good opportunity that will open doors for you and your career.
“I treat the students as I like to be treated because I was a student one day just like them. In our department, we choose a small number of students every two years so we can give them our full attention. Additionally, each student needs cameras and equipment to practice what they are studying, and now we are not capable of providing large numbers of equipment and cameras. So, we concentrate on this small group of students. Most of our students find jobs in the media field when they graduate. I encourage anyone who has a passion for media and journalism to join our classes this upcoming year.”
Palestinian Heartbeat Book
As I said, Gabriel Hanna just released a book entitled, Palestinian Heartbeat. The book contains twenty-four meditations from the Bible about issues related to our daily living.
“I think a lot, and thinking makes you create things. At the College, where I work, we have daily morning devotions. They ask me to share a devotion sometimes, and that makes me prepare a fifteen-minute devotion to share with my co-workers. Through the years, I wrote tens of small devotions, and I decided to collect them in a devotional book, and Palestinian Heartbeat came to life. Those devotions are real testimonies that talk about a Palestinian life through the eyes of the Bible.”
Because Gabriel has been a TV host for years, he has met a lot of people in need and suffering from problems with Palestinian society. So, in his book, he talked about a lot of challenges and struggles that his own people are facing through a biblical perspective. He wanted to prove that the Bible, which was written thousands of years ago, can still relate to our struggles now.
The book is written in simple Arabic, reaches to the heart of people, and it is very close to the Palestinian reality. Christians and Muslims are reading the book, and they are loving it. The book is doing what it was written for.
“In Palestine, from the heart of the small city of Bethlehem, I managed to study, work, get married, and build a family. I have lived an honorable and beautiful life in the place where everybody is either leaving or afraid to come and visit. I, myself, tried to live in America for three years, but I ended up coming back to my homeland. People thought I was crazy, leaving Florida’s beaches to come to a big prison in Bethlehem; but for me, living outside my land was the prison.”
“For all the young adults: go develop yourselves; study abroad. But always remember to come back for your country. It needs you. For if the salt of the land leaves, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything!”