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10 thoughts on “The Lemon Tree

  1. Sue Sue says:

    Excellent well written portrait of the multiple changes that have occured in the area of the Middle East known as Palestine Israel both to Arabs and Jews who both want to live on the same land in the same homes History of the area from both perspectives is provided for the years leading to the declaration of Israeli independence in 1948 which changed the dynamics of the entire Middle East for all the years sinceThe story is told from the perspectives of an Israel woman Dalia and an Arab man Bashir both of whom have ties to the same house formerly in Arab Palestine but since 1948 in Jewish Israel It is a true story of the wars the individual happy moments of working toward peace or at least progress Highly recommended to anyone who wishes to learn about the background for today's events

  2. Dem Dem says:

    Just finished this book and it is a fantastic read and a great insight into the Israeli Palestinian conflict For anyone interested in understanding the conflict that is going on I think this is a great book to start with However I did find parts of the book tedious and that is why I gave it four stars instead of 5 although when finished I was so glad I stayed with it as I feel that I now have a better understanding of the conflict I had previously completed Mornings in Jenin which I enjoyed very much and feel thatMornings in Jeninis the book I would recommend to a friend and know she would not be disappointed While The Lemon Tree is one I would definatly suggest for someone who interested in the politics of the conflict

  3. Rebecca McNutt Rebecca McNutt says:

    We live in a very divided world a world becoming much obvious in the age of the internet Politics race religion gender it's tearing people apart The Lemon Tree is the kind of story that proves that things don't have to be this way that we can learn from accept and appreciate the differences of others and be friends with people even if they are our opposites in some ways At face value this is a simple book A Palestinian young man and an Israeli woman a few years younger meeting up on the grounds of property they both have connections to As things unfold framed very effectively by historical events and the conflicts of a territory sought by two different groups The Lemon Tree shows insight into the worlds of two young people who in spite of and even because of their history find that they really aren't so different after allInspirational and thought provoking without being preachy or pretentious Sandy Tolan's book has a Fried Green Tomatoes vibe in a vague sort of way if it was set in Israel anyway The characters based on true counterparts come alive on the pages showing the human side to the political conflicts and viewpoints we so desperately seem to grasp onto and anchor our identity in Maybe this will be enough to make some readers pause and think Isn't it possible for conservatives and liberals Jews and Muslims Christians and atheists to still get along and like each other even if they share opposing views? Are we so rooted in our differences that our shared history isn't enough to bring friends together? The Lemon Tree is just as timely today as ever and definitely a very well written story

  4. David Gregory Lloyd David Gregory Lloyd says:

    I found the book to be very promising in the beginning It seeks to present a very comprehensive overview of the conflict in the Middle East presenting both sides of the conflict through the personal experience of two people a Palestinian Arab and an Israeli JewHowever the book gets somewhat bogged down through an overly repetitive style I feel that parts that go on for pages and pages could be much forcefully presented in a page or two Unlike the book I Shall Not Hate written by a Palestinian doctor which I felt to be compelling from beginning to end I found myself plowing through much of the text in The Lemon Tree The writer also apparently felt that coming back time and time again to the same point albeit through slightly different approaches would reinforce much of what he wanted to bring across but this approach didn't work for meI congratulate Sandy for taking on a very difficult task and revealing many things that needed to be revealed but I found the literary uality lacking

  5. Jan Rice Jan Rice says:

    This is an exposition of the Israel Palestine conflict via the stories of two people Dalia a Jewish woman whose family immigrated when she was a baby in 1948 and Bashir a Palestinian Arab whose family was driven out and became refugees Dalia's family live in what had been Bashir's family's home The lemon tree grew in the yard The book uses their stories to tell the story of the conflict The book does a good job of showing the personal experiences and views of all concerned With this kind of book another example of which is The Warmth of Other Suns The Epic Story of America's Great Migration there is emphasis on those personal experiences and rather less on explication But there is enough to give the picture I think it would be called a revisionist book That is it doesn't tell the story of Israel in a mythic heroic manner but contains all the warts ie not all the Arabs fled of their own accord in 1948 but some were driven out; bad treatment on the part of Israel happened Torture has occurred Some may see that as delegitimizing the state of Israel but to me it means that like other countries Israel hasn't had an immaculate conception In my opinion it is not criticism of Israel that is the problem but the problem consists in removing it from time and history and holding it up as the paradigmatic evil The book does have sections dedicated to politics and it does describe the various narratives as narratives rather than holding up a particular narrative as truth and fact In that sense the book is fair and even keeled Here is an aspect of the book that may be considered not fair In all the discussion of people's homes right of return etc the book never mentions that not all the Arab population owned their land Look at this Wikipedia entry on Absentee Landlords specifically the third section on absentee landowners in Palestine before 1948 In 1858 the Ottoman Empire made the people on the land register ownership in a new manner as individuals That caused problems because it interfered with traditional communal patterns of land ownership and because the people on the land didn't want to register ownership; doing so would result in taxation and conscription Several decades later there were secular land reforms that allowed the oppressed Jews of the Ottoman Empire to own land individually which led to religious resentment by Muslims on the land At any rate land became increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few particularly in the hands of absentee landowners of the Ottoman Empire The people on the land were reduced to tenant farmers In that way resentment and Arab nationalism began to arise prior to the Zionist movement and prior to increased Jewish immigration While Bashir's family had been prominent in their village and may have owned their land many others would not have and if they felt they should and didn't there would have been issues that already existed and that were not instigated by Jewish immigration or the establishment of the state of Israel I saw no reference to any of that in the bookAlso because of the concentrated focus on two individuals' stories in Israel and Palestine the fact that other such issues have existed and do exist in other countries is not a consideration Obviously it is a story of a particular place I only think it is a problem because it is a place that is such a loaded issue for so many people The author might have given at least some introductory context in terms of other areas of the world that have suffered partition or are undergoing influx or clashes of different ethnic groupsFinally it may be an unfortunate portrayal that the Israeli was capable of considering compromise while the Arab was intractable in his position Since the book is based on actual events that could not be helped but is one of the drawbacks of focusing on the stories of these two people At the same time making their stories central brings history down to earth and makes it real 31113 I've decided to add my following comment to the body of the review as an addendumIn my review I stated the fact that other such issues have existed and do exist in other countries is not a consideration Obviously it is a story of a particular place I only think it is a problem because it is a place that is such a loaded issue for so many people The author might have given at least some introductory context in terms of other areas of the world It seems to me that books I'm reading or have read may provide some of that context or maybe everything I'm reading these days is related Although those connections aren't really part of my review maybe I can assemble them here for future reference Or maybe add them to the reviewI recently read Neither Wolf nor Dog On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder on what happened to American Indians in the 1800s and particularly the late 1800s after the Civil War They like the indigenous Arabs in Palestine lacked a tradition of land ownership that lined up with emerging social and economic realities that would come to be dominantListening for the Heartbeat of God A Celtic Spirtuality focuses overall on the suppression of Celtic spirituality by Rome but a corollary has to do with the suppression of a people and way of life Eventually economics coalesced with religious factors when sheep became profitable than tenant farmers In Scotland 1792 was called The Year of the Sheep The large landowners got rid of their tenants to free the land for grazing People were driven out; they coped poorly with sudden urbanization or forced emigration to Canada as paupers; people starved or died of disease in the conseuent social uprooting and upheaval The church did not help The parish ministers were often the tools of the rich Looking down on the people's religion made it easier to mistreat them As I write I'm wondering if these events weren't part of the ongoing dissolution of the feudal systemI read an excerpt from a Palestinian Arab appeal of 1946 in which the Arab Office submitted appeals to the Anglo American Committee of Inuiry Part of their complaint was that the Jewish immigrants had greater knowledge and skills with modern economic techniues leading them to economic mastery of the area The appeal asked not only for the rights of the indigenous inhabitants but also for the preservation of the traditional character of the country Here is a Facebook note I wrote after listening to The Modern Scholar Odyssey Of The West III 3 The Medieval World Here we see the impact of religio economic factors writ largeIn The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet Japan in 1800 had taken extreme measures to prevent the encroachment of Christianity They had not let the Dutch enter the country beyond a special holdingtrading area and now that the English had gained control of the seas they were treated the same Addendum A friend just read the book God's Smuggler about a man whose call was to smuggle bibles across closed bordersI read in the paper the other day about how it is against the law to spread Christianity in Libya and doubtless in many other countriesWhy is that unless we are not really speaking about the spread of a religious faith only but about that religion as a cultural spearhead by means of which new ways may pierce a traditional society and clearing all before it conuerThis reminds me of that joke to the effect that before the coming of the missionaries the natives had the land and the colonialists had the bible Afterward the natives had the bible and the colonialists the landA few years ago I had the experience of sitting in a very liberal Protestant church that wears its anti Israel colors proudly and in accompaniment preaches not a little anti Judaism Sitting there I witnessed their applause and delight as they were being told of the spread of Christianity in ChinaIt seems we pays our money and takes our chances with the political groups in which we find ourselves but we often know not what we doIt is easy to sympathize with the group that is suffering from change in this world when they are us or our client groups When we are the winners and are perceiving ourselves as vindicated it is another matter Right and wrong are so difficult to establish As I wrote on my review of Neither Wolf nor Dog I don't think this Western culture that we have is the epitome of evil But for those who do I don't think another small culture can be made the scapegoat for it all At the very least that poses some serious theological uestions particularly for those who are of the conviction that price has already been paid

  6. Caroline Caroline says:

    This book is a marvellously thorough description of the formation of Israel and the resulting Arab Israeli conflict The story follows two families – the Khairis and the Eshkenazis The Khairis were Arabs from al Ramla forced by the Israelis to leave their house and their town in July 1948 as refugees The Eshkenazis were Jews from Bulgaria who immigrated to Israel after the Second World War They were sent to al Ramla for settlement and ended up living in what used to be the Khairis’ house – a house with a lemon treerelating to the title of the bookWhilst the story of this house and the friendship between Bashir Khairi and Dalia Eshkenazi formed a small part of the book I think the title is misleading The overwhelming impetus of the book deals with general Arab Israeli relations The uprisings the retaliations the wars the imprisoning of vast numbers of people the influx of Jews the displacement of Arabs the setting up of gorilla factions the major leaders on both side of the divide the sentiments of ordinary people on the ground the passionate desire for homelands the positioning of Egypt Jordan Syria and Lebanon the colonising the efforts to broker peace the peace makers the war mongerseverything is described with great clarity and there is a major effort on the part of the author to achieve a fair and balanced description of events I think he does a wonderful job Not only that but what the author achieves through his ongoing following of the Arab family of Khairi and Jewish family of Eshkenazi is a personal perspective on these themes and eventsI learnt an incredible amount from this book – and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to get an overview of the history of Palestine and Israel from the time of the British occupation to the beginning of the twenty first century I felt it really got to the heart of what was going on

  7. thewanderingjew thewanderingjew says:

    This is the true story of Dalia a Bulgarian Jew and Bashir a Palestinian Arab Both were uprooted from their homes for different but related reasons; one was uprooted because of the Holocaust in Europe and the other because of the founding of the state of Israel which resulted from the heinous acts committed against Jews during the Holocaust It must be mentioned here that the Arabs of Palestine supported Hitler and his Holocaust They had a common enemy Jews and Great BritainBoth people claimed the same land Israel only known by that name since 1948 when it was given to the Jews by a United Nations declaration However since the ownership of that land is now and has always been disputed war is never ending and fear is a constant companion for all sides consideredDalia and Bashir meet in 1967 when Bashir knocks on the door of her home only months after the Arab defeat in the 6 day war just one of a series of violent acts toward the newly formed country since its inception He asks to see the place he used to call his home and she graciously grants that wish to him and his two friends who illegally traveled into Israel from their place of exile in the Arab territory Over the ensuing years they both become what I shall call frenemies since they are both driven by different motives and goals but both also inspiring a feeling of friendship for each other and a concern for each other’s plight Their needs and solutions pit them suarely in a fight against each other on the playing field that is Israel Dalia seeks a solution that will reuire sacrifice by all parties involved because she believes it could bring peace to the Middle East Bashir seeks a solution in which Jews are driven out of their country and sent back to the place they came from He will not tolerate any compromise regarding the land or the Jews who recently emigrated to his countryThrough their friendship Dalia learns how her family acuired their home and how Bashir unfairly lost his when Israel commandeered it and forced the community he lived in to flee She is sympathetic but realizes that there is nothing she can do about it She cannot return the home to him she cannot even sell it to him It is a brutal mark on Israel’s history but the Arabs wanted to drive them out and the newly formed Israel saw no other way to guarantee its survival other than to kill or be killed Israelis chose survival as cruel as its implementation reuiredBashir unwilling to compromise in any way wants only to regain the self respect his family lost which reuires them to be able to return to their home no strings attached In conjunction he wants the Jews to return to their homes not understanding that they often had no home to return to because of the Holocaust They were not wanted anywhere Bashir like the Israelis believed that any means would justify the end of achieving the right of return Although he has never admitted it he was arrested many times for participating in acts of violence and terrorism in Israel Unlike Dalia who to be fair does have the upper hand as an Israeli he does not want to work through peaceful meansThe book dwells largely on the different paths each of them follow to find a solution Dalia eventually creates a school for Arab children in their mutual former home and Bashir becomes an Arab Freedom Fighter involved with many violent groups and spending many years of his life in Israeli prisons for the cause of a one state solution to the Middle East controversy Dalia finds it hard to understand how someone she cares about and supposedly someone who cares about her can want the annihilation of her people Yet Israel is also carrying out deeds of brutality torture and murder as they invade lands preemptively to protect their territory and their settlers She finds it hard to justify or understand either behavior While Dalia is shown in a sympathetic light and Bashir is depicted as someone who is the product of years of Israeli abuse there is little true causation presented that connects the deeds of each enemy toward each other Therefore The brutality of Israeli actions often appear to be occurring in a vacuum rather than in reaction to Arab provocation Israel would probably not exist today had they not taken swift action against their enemies even preemptively Did the means justify the ends? Since the Arabs were intransigent and would not accept Israel’s right to exist after the state was created I personally believe they did Dalia appears to be naïve and than just a little idealistic Bashir is grounded in his belief that he has the right to return to his family’s land He beieves in achieving this goal by any means possible His children are taught that Israel is the cause of all their problems rather than their refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist They do not own their responsibility for some of the brutality inflicted upon their people and they feel no guilt for causing so many unnecessary deaths No matter how hard she tries Dalia cannot crack his stubborn façade She believes that in friendship if they both give up something if they sacrifice eually they can compromise and live together and that this can be applied to the greater land around them encompassing Arabs and Israelis She however does understand that the right of return would negate Israel’s existence as a Jewish state The book’s message is over simplified Bashir really cares for his Palestine than he does for Dalia His connection to terrorist behavior could as easily kill her as well as other innocent and unknown Israelis or innocent Palestinians who lives in Israel To him Jews are interlopers who have no right to be there and must be driven out by any means It is a view similar to the Israeli Jew about the Arabs sadly The author often referred to Bashir’s belief about a resolution guaranteeing the right of return but this resolution does not actually exist and the author does not clarify this point but rather allows the reader to believe what Bashir believes It is the interpretation of that resolution by Bashir which is incorrect and the author should present it that way groups that Bashir supports do not recognize Israel’s history or its right to exist in what they believe is only “their land” When Jordan controlled the holy sites Jews and Christians were forbidden access to certain places even though the UN resolution reuired it When Israel controlled them Jerusalem was unified and religious sites were open to allhttpwwwyaleeduaccordsjerusalemThroughout the Jewish history they have been attacked just because they were Jews and were different After a long history of exile and abuse the Israelis are a bit paranoid and with good reason They are a tiny country in the midst of a huge Arab population that will not recognize their right to exist There is not one Arab country truly willing to give Palestinian refugees sanctuary in their country on a long term basis with eual rights and freedoms yet that is what the Arabs demand from the Jews they attacked the moment the state of Israel was declared Many Jews like me always believed that all reactions or hostilities engaged in by Israel were provoked In reality not all were I learned I discovered I know a lot about the Holocaust but not as much about the birth and development of Israel However I do know that Israel reacted in its defense to protect the country from annihilation by an enemy that did not recognize its right to exist that thought they could wipe the people and the country from the map with impunity and suffer no conseuences When they were forced to pay for their violence they rebelled and uestioned why they were being treated so cruelly when they only rightfully wanted their land back The problem is this; it was no longer their land Intransigence will prevent any peace Both sides have to move to a middle ground but Israel has no choice if it wishes to maintain its Jewish identity but to behave they way it did and will have to continue to do so Those that do not understand this will wish to doom Israel to extinction They may even hope for it as their ultimate goalIn the Middle East as in other developed nations assassinations have become and prevalent as has terrorism It is necessary to fight hard and early to survive If two friends could not come to a single cohesive conclusion about how they could live together in peace how can two separate peoples who desire the same country to call their own find a pathway to peace? Dalia could not understand how Bashir could plot to murder Israelis when she could become his victim and yet Bashir has become a victim of Israel’s prison system perhaps not always fairly treated Because time has passed since the book was published the fluid situation in Israel has changed and it is now even threatened by newly formed terrorist groups by other Arab nations who have experienced the Arab Spring and by an Iran that will possibly soon acuire nuclear weapons Who knows if there is even a plausible way out? I certainly don’t However the truth must be written not for bleeding hearts but for the real world with beating hearts for one man’s poison will become another man’s meat on another day

  8. Ram Ram says:

    A book about the Israeli Palestinian conflict I am really not sure what to write about it It opened my eyes and gave me a perspective of the conflict that I have not seen or maybe chose not to see I won't say that it changed my perspective completely but it did raise allot of uestions about the history of my country and the role of the Palestinians Or to be precise the role of the Zionist movement in the situation of the Palestinians The book tells the story of the friendship that was established between a Palestinian who was forced out of his house as a child in 1948 and the Israeli woman who as a child settled in his house with her parents after the 1948 war A friendship that started in 1967 after the six day war when Bashir the Palestinian knocked on the door of the house that he could not visit for 19 years and met Dalia a young woman at the timeWhile the story of the friendship is optimistic and shows that Israelis and Palestinians can somehow have a dialog it emphasizes the giant gap between the people I would like to say that after reading this book I have better hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians but that is not the case The book just emphasized to me how deep the gap is and how complex the solution isThe book does not put my country and its actions in a very positive light I do not have the historical knowledge to contradict what is written in this book Every story can be told in various ways and this one paints the Israelis in unflattering colors

  9. Ryan Ryan says:

    A very slanted take on the struggle where the only people who get a voice are a Palestinian terrorist an Israeli peacenik and the leftist academic author Every poor decision by an Arab leader is justified and every choice by an Israeli leader is stated flatly in the most damning way Tolan delves deep into accounts to cherry pick the most favorable items for Palestine and skims over complicated events to highlight the darkest side of the Israelis The conflict is a bad situation; I feel for the people living in camps with little control over their lives There are refugees in every war and it's sad But only blaming Israel over simplifies a complex problem Israelis have to be a hard people to exist surrounded by so many nations who want them destroyed The problem is not so much with Tolan though it's impossible to write unbiased on this subject Readers are best served by reading at least two books on the conflict one biased on each side For the Israeli side I'd recommend O Jerusalem written by two journalists one American and one French It's very similar to this book in that the authors do make an attempt at unbiased writing but it clearly favors the Israeli side of the story

  10. Vicki Vicki says:

    I have just finished this book and found it to be one of the most complelling books I have ever read An intriguing historical account of the PalestinianArab Israeli conflict through the stories of the lives of two families who are connected through having resided in the same home the Arab family built it and was later displaced; most violently A Jewish family from Bulgaria comes to live there newly arrived in Israel after World War II A Lemon Tree grows in the back yardIn 1967 a young Palestiniam man knocks on the door hoping to see the home he fled from with his family as a young boy A young Jewish woman on her college vacation is home alone and opens the door The cballenge of this book is that it revolves around two extraordinary individuals who choose to care and hear each other stories and maintain a deep and respectful friendship spanning decades despite deep political differences that go to the very core of their beings differences that each conscientiously acts upon through their lives It is a book a would recommend that you read but also that I would ask you to read I feel we have a responsiblity to know these stories I

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The Lemon Tree [KINDLE] ✽ The Lemon Tree By Sandy Tolan – In 1967 Bashir Al Khayri a Palestinian twenty five year old journeyed to Israel with the goal of seeing the beloved old stone house with the lemon tree behind it that he and his family had fled ninete In Bashir Al Khayri a Palestinian twenty five year old journeyed to Israel with the goal of seeing the The Lemon Kindle - beloved old stone house with The Lemon Tree behind it that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier To his surprise when he found the house he was greeted by Dalia Ashkenazi Landau a nineteen year old Israeli college student whose family fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust On the stoop of their shared home Dalia and Bashir began a rare friendship forged in the aftermath of war and tested over the next thirty five years in ways that neither could imagine on that summer day in Based on extensive research and springing from his enormously resonant documentary that aired on NPR’s Fresh Air in Sandy Tolan brings the Israeli Palestinian conflict down to its most human level suggesting that even amid the bleakest political realities there exist stories of hope and reconciliation.

  • Paperback
  • 400 pages
  • The Lemon Tree
  • Sandy Tolan
  • English
  • 09 August 2015
  • 9781596913431

About the Author: Sandy Tolan

Sandy Tolan is a teacher and radio documentary producer He is the author of two books Me and Hank A The Lemon Kindle - Boy and His Hero Twenty Five Years Later Free Press about the intersection between race sports and American heroes; and The Lemon Tree An Arab A Jew and the Heart of the Middle East Bloomsbury The Washington Post called the book “extraordinary” and selected it among their.