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The Lemon Tree : An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East - Sandy Tolan

The Lemon Tree

An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East

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Published: 17th April 2007
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Published: 1st December 2008
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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 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 1967.

Based on extensive research, and springing from his enormously resonant documentary that aired on NPR's Fresh Air in 1998, 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.

About the Author

Sandy Tolan is the author of Me & Hank: A Boy and His Hero, Twenty-five Years Later. He has written extensively for magazines and newspapers, and has produced dozens of documentaries for National Public Radio and Public Radio International. He was a 1993 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and an I. F. Stone Fellow at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where he teaches international reporting.

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A story both chilling and heartwarming.

5

The warp of the story is the establishment of the state of Israel. The weft is the continuing conundrum: In the creation of a new Jewish state, was it right to remove Arab families from a land they considered home for thousands of years? Or was the land, by right, Israeli; had they, indeed, been driven from it 2,000 years before? In The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan, the author takes a tangential approach to the issue. He provides an abridged history before looking at the result through the eyes of two young people: Bashir, scion of the Khairi family, whose history traces back to the 16th century, and Dalia, daughter of the Eshkenazi family, Bulgarian Jews who came to their Promised Land in 1948. One day in 1967, these two young people meet and sit in the yard of a house in Ramla. The yard has a lemon tree. The tree provides the connection, the nexus through which their story - and that of their people - develops. A friendship grows and strengthens between our real life couple, despite Dalia being a member of the Jewish community and Bashir's association with the Popular Front For The Liberation Of Palestine, through which involvement he is frequently imprisoned. The house was designed and built by Bashir's father in 1936, at which time the lemon tree was planted. During the 1948 war, Arab families were expelled from al Ramla and sent to refugee camps at Ramallah. Just months after the Khairi family's expulsion, Dalia and her family arrived in Israel and were resettled in that very house. Nineteen years later, Bashir made his way back to take a look at what had been the home of his birth. Be prepared to become involved when reading this excellent work. We are told, in Ecclesiastes, there is "...a time to plant and a time to uproot; a time to kill and a time to heal." It is not the lot of the reader to establish right and wrong in the arguments put forward, although it behoves us, as we do with so much of life, to look at the issues and shape, if we can, a reasonable

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"This truly remarkable book presents a powerful account of Palestinians and Israelis who try to break the seemingly endless chain of hatred and violence. Capturing the human dimension of the conflict so vividly and admirably, Sandy Tolan offers something both Israelis and Palestinians all too often tend to ignore: a ray of hope." "Affecting. [S]ensitively told. Humane and literate." "A much-needed antidote to the cynicism of realpolitik." "Tolan offers. a ray of hope."-Tom Segev, author of "One Palestine, Complete" "[C]ertainly. one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year." "This wonderful human story vividly depicts the depths of attachment to contested ground. An excellent choice..." "Sandy Tolan has found a remarkable story."-Adam Hochschild, author of "Bury the Chains "and "King Leopold's Ghost" "[J]ust as the Khairis and Eshkenazis learn each other's better qualities, we come to understand more about both sides." "[A] tapestry of compassion, grief, and hope.[a] painfully beautiful narrative."-Elif Shafak, author of "The Flea Palace" and "The Saint of Incipient Insanities" "Affecting. YSensitively told. Humane and literate." "YCertainly. one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year." "YJust as the Khairis and Eshkenazis learn each other's better qualities, we come to understand more about both sides." "Dalia and Bashir's.remarkable four-decade friendship.illuminate the personal narratives at the heart of the YPalestinian/Israeli conflict." "YA tapestry of compassion, grief, and hope.Ya painfully beautiful narrative."-Elif Shafak, author of "The Flea Palace" and "The Saint of Incipient Insanities" "A wonderful book. I learned so much about the Middle East conflict--from a historical and human perspective. The author took great care with his research. I walked away with a better understanding of the Jewish and Palestinian points of view."--Kathy Litts, Oregon Book Company, Orgeon City, OR "[An] extraordinary book...A sweeping history of the Palestinian-Israeli conundrum...Tolan's narrative provides a much-needed, human dimension to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he also skillfully weaves into this tale a great deal of history, all properly sourced. Despite the complex and controversial nature of the story, this veteran journalist has produced a highly readable and evocative history." --Washington Post"The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East is the story of two people trying to get beyond denial, and closer to a truth they can both live with. By its end, Bashir Khairi and Dalia Eshkenazi are still arguing, talking -- and mostly disagreeing. But their natures--intellectual, questing, passionate and committed--may represent the best hope of resolving one of the most intractable disputes in human history...It is very tempting to write off the Israeli-Palestinian standoff as insoluble. But one lesson of The Lemon Tree is the relatively short span of its history. The conflict between the two peoples is little more than a century old." --Seattle Times"No novel could be more compelling...This book... will haunt you long after you put it down. And it will certainly be one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year." --Christian Science Monitor"A graceful, compassionate and unmuddied presentation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lives of an Arab and a Jew, strangers who forge a connection and a reconciliation while never veering from their passionate desires for a homeland." --Milwaukee Journal Sentinel"Quite simply the most important book I've read for ages...a handbook to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a narrative that captures its essence through tracing the connected lives of two extraordinary individuals. Literally the single work I'd recommend to anyone seeking to understand why the conflict remains unresolved, and why it continues to dominate the region." --Time"Beautifully told...a very poignant but impressively unsentimental story...It reads like a work of fiction." --Nation"Sandy Tolan has found a remarkable story, and has told it in all its beauty and sadness." --Adam Hochschild, author of Bury the Chains and King Leopold's Ghost"Truly remarkable." --Tom Segev, author of One Palestine, Complete and 1949: The First Israelis [An] extraordinary book A sweeping history of the Palestinian-Israeli conundrum Tolan's narrative provides a much-needed, human dimension to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he also skillfully weaves into this tale a great deal of history, all properly sourced. Despite the complex and controversial nature of the story, this veteran journalist has produced a highly readable and evocative history. Washington Post The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East is the story of two people trying to get beyond denial, and closer to a truth they can both live with. By its end, Bashir Khairi and Dalia Eshkenazi are still arguing, talking -- and mostly disagreeing. But their natures--intellectual, questing, passionate and committed--may represent the best hope of resolving one of the most intractable disputes in human history It is very tempting to write off the Israeli-Palestinian standoff as insoluble. But one lesson of The Lemon Tree is the relatively short span of its history. The conflict between the two peoples is little more than a century old. Seattle Times No novel could be more compelling...This book will haunt you long after you put it down. And it will certainly be one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year. Christian Science Monitor A graceful, compassionate and unmuddied presentation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lives of an Arab and a Jew, strangers who forge a connection and a reconciliation while never veering from their passionate desires for a homeland. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Quite simply the most important book I've read for ages...a handbook to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a narrative that captures its essence through tracing the connected lives of two extraordinary individuals. Literally the single work I'd recommend to anyone seeking to understand why the conflict remains unresolved, and why it continues to dominate the region. Time Beautifully told a very poignant but impressively unsentimental story It reads like a work of fiction. Nation Sandy Tolan has found a remarkable story, and has told it in all its beauty and sadness. Adam Hochschild, author of Bury the Chains and King Leopold's Ghost Truly remarkable. Tom Segev, author of One Palestine, Complete and 1949: The First Israelis" [An] extraordinary book A sweeping history of the Palestinian-Israeli conundrum Tolan's narrative provides a much-needed, human dimension to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he also skillfully weaves into this tale a great deal of history, all properly sourced. Despite the complex and controversial nature of the story, this veteran journalist has produced a highly readable and evocative history. "Washington Post" "The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East "is the story of two people trying to get beyond denial, and closer to a truth they can both live with. By its end, Bashir Khairi and Dalia Eshkenazi are still arguing, talking -- and mostly disagreeing. But their natures--intellectual, questing, passionate and committed--may represent the best hope of resolving one of the most intractable disputes in human history It is very tempting to write off the Israeli-Palestinian standoff as insoluble. But one lesson of "The Lemon Tree" is the relatively short span of its history. The conflict between the two peoples is little more than a century old. "Seattle Times" No novel could be more compelling...This book will haunt you long after you put it down. And it will certainly be one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year. "Christian Science Monitor" A graceful, compassionate and unmuddied presentation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lives of an Arab and a Jew, strangers who forge a connection and a reconciliation while never veering from their passionate desires for a homeland. "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" Quite simply the most important book I've read for ages...a handbook to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a narrative that captures its essence through tracing the connected lives of two extraordinary individuals. Literally the single work I'd recommend to anyone seeking to understand why the conflict remains unresolved, and why it continues to dominate the region. "Time" Beautifully told a very poignant but impressively unsentimental story It reads like a work of fiction. "Nation" Sandy Tolan has found a remarkable story, and has told it in all its beauty and sadness. "Adam Hochschild, author of Bury the Chains and King Leopold's Ghost" Truly remarkable. "Tom Segev, author of One Palestine, Complete and 1949: The First Israelis"" "[An] extraordinary book...A sweeping history of the Palestinian-Israeli conundrum...Tolan's narrative provides a much-needed, human dimension to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he also skillfully weaves into this tale a great deal of history, all properly sourced. Despite the complex and controversial nature of the story, this veteran journalist has produced a highly readable and evocative history."--"Washington"" Post""" ""The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East "is the story of two people trying to get beyond denial, and closer to a truth they can both live with. By its end, Bashir Khairi and Dalia Eshkenazi are still arguing, talking -- and mostly disagreeing. But their natures--intellectual, questing, passionate and committed--may represent the best hope of resolving one of the most intractable disputes in human history...It is very tempting to write off the Israeli-Palestinian standoff as insoluble. But one lesson of "The Lemon Tree" is the relatively short span of its history. The conflict between the two peoples is little more than a century old."--"Seattle""Times" "No novel could be more compelling...This book... will haunt you long after you put it down. And it will certainly be one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year."--"Christian Science Monitor""A graceful, compassionate and unmuddied presentation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lives of an Arab and a Jew, strangers who forge a connection and a reconciliation while never veering from their passionate desires for a homeland."--"Milwaukee Journal Sentinel""Quite simply the most important book I've read for ages...a handbook to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a narrative that captures its essence through tracing the connected lives of two extraordinary individuals. Literally the single work I'd recommend to anyone seeking to understand why the conflict remains unresolved, and why it continues to dominate the region."--"Time" "Beautifully told...a very poignant but impressively unsentimental story...It reads like a work of fiction."--"Nation""Sandy Tolan has found a remarkable story, and has told it in all its beauty and sadness."--Adam Hochschild, author of "Bury the Chains" and "King Leopold's Ghost" "Truly remarkable."--Tom Segev, author of "One Palestine, Complete "and "1949: The First Israelis" Praise for "The Lemon Tree" "[An] extraordinary book A sweeping history of the Palestinian-Israeli conundrum Tolan's narrative provides a much-needed, human dimension to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he also skillfully weaves into this tale a great deal of history, all properly sourced. Despite the complex and controversial nature of the story, this veteran journalist has produced a highly readable and evocative history."--"Washington"" Post""" ""The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East "is the story of two people trying to get beyond denial, and closer to a truth they can both live with. By its end, Bashir Khairi and Dalia Eshkenazi are still arguing, talking -- and mostly disagreeing. But their natures--intellectual, questing, passionate and committed--may represent the best hope of resolving one of the most intractable disputes in human history It is very tempting to write off the Israeli-Palestinian standoff as insoluble. But one lesson of "The Lemon Tree" is the relatively short span of its history. The conflict between the two peoples is little more than a century old."--"Seattle""Times" "No novel could be more compelling...This book will haunt you long after you put it down. And it will certainly be one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year."--"Christian Science Monitor""A graceful, compassionate and unmuddied presentation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lives of an Arab and a Jew, strangers who forge a connection and a reconciliation while never veering from their passionate desires for a homeland."--"Milwaukee Journal Sentinel""Quite simply the most important book I've read for ages...a handbook to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a narrative that captures its essence through tracing the connected lives of two extraordinary individuals. Literally the single work I'd recommend to anyone seeking to understand why the conflict remains unresolved, and why it continues to dominate the region."--"Time" "Beautifully told a very poignant but impressively unsentimental story It reads like a work of fiction."--"Nation""Sandy Tolan has found a remarkable story, and has told it in all its beauty and sadness."--Adam Hochschild, author of "Bury the Chains" and "King Leopold's Ghost" "Truly remarkable."--Tom Segev, author of "One Palestine, Complete "and "1949: The First Israelis"" Praise for "The Lemon Tree": "[An] extraordinary book A sweeping history of the Palestinian-Israeli conundrum Tolan's narrative provides a much-needed, human dimension to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he also skillfully weaves into this tale a great deal of history, all properly sourced. Despite the complex and controversial nature of the story, this veteran journalist has produced a highly readable and evocative history."--"Washington"" Post""" ""The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East "is the story of two people trying to get beyond denial, and closer to a truth they can both live with. By its end, Bashir Khairi and Dalia Eshkenazi are still arguing, talking -- and mostly disagreeing. But their natures--intellectual, questing, passionate and committed--may represent the best hope of resolving one of the most intractable disputes in human history It is very tempting to write off the Israeli-Palestinian standoff as insoluble. But one Praise for "The Lemon Tree": "[An] extraordinary book...A sweeping history of the Palestinian-Israeli conundrum...Tolan's narrative provides a much-needed, human dimension to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he also skillfully weaves into this tale a great deal of history, all properly sourced. Despite the complex and controversial nature of the story, this veteran journalist has produced a highly readable and evocative history."--"Washington"" Post""" ""The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East "is the story of two people trying to get beyond denial, and closer to a truth they can both live with. By its end, Bashir Khairi and Dalia Eshkenazi are still arguing, talking -- and mostly disagreeing. But their natures--intellectual, questing, passionate and committed--may represent the best hope of resolving one of the most intractable disputes in human history...It is very tempting to write off the Israeli-Palestinian standoff as insoluble. But one lesson of "The Lemon Tree" is the relatively short span of its history. The conflict between the two peoples is little more than a century old."--"Seattle" "Times" "No novel could be more compelling...This book... will haunt you long after you put it down. And it will certainly be one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year."--"Christian Science Monitor""A graceful, compassionate and unmuddied presentation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lives of an Arab and a Jew, strangers who forge a connection and a reconciliation while never veering from their passionate desires for a homeland."--"Milwaukee Journal Sentinel""Quite simply the most important book I've read forages...a handbook to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a narrative that captures its essence through tracing the connected lives of two extraordinary individuals. Literally the single work I'd recommend to anyone seeking to understand why the conflict remains unresolved, and why it continues to dominate the region."--"Time" "Beautifully told...a very poignant but impressively unsentimental story...It reads like a work of fiction."--"Nation""Sandy Tolan has found a remarkable story, and has told it in all its beauty and sadness."--Adam Hochschild, author of "Bury the Chains" and "King Leopold's Ghost" "Truly remarkable."--Tom Segev, author of "One Palestine, Complete "and "1949: The First Israelis" Praise for "The Lemon Tree": " [An] extraordinary book... A sweeping history of the Palestinian-Israeli conundrum... Tolan's narrative provides a much-needed, human dimension to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he also skillfully weaves into this tale a great deal of history, all properly sourced. Despite the complex and controversial nature of the story, this veteran journalist has produced a highly readable and evocative history." -- "Washington"" Post""" " "The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East "is the story of two people trying to get beyond denial, and closer to a truth they can both live with. By its end, Bashir Khairi and Dalia Eshkenazi are still arguing, talking -- and mostly disagreeing. But their natures-- intellectual, questing, passionate and committed-- may represent the best hope of resolving one of the most intractable disputes in human history... It is very tempting to write off the Israeli-Palestinian standoff as insoluble. But one lesson of "The Lemon Tree" is the relatively short span of its history. The conflict between the two peoples is little more than a century old." -- "Seattle" "Times" " No novel could be more compelling...This book... will haunt you long after you put it down. And it will certainly be one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year." -- "Christian Science Monitor"" A graceful, compassionate and unmuddied presentation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lives of an Arab and a Jew, strangers who forge a connection and a reconciliation while never veering from theirpassionate desires for a homeland." -- "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel"" Quite simply the most important book I've read for ages...a handbook to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a narrative that captures its essence through tracing the connected lives of two extraordinary individuals. Literally the single work I' d recommend to anyone seeking to understand why the conflict remains unresolved, and why it continues to dominate the region." -- "Time" " Beautifully told... a very poignant but impressively unsentimental story... It reads like a work of fiction." -- "Nation"" Sandy Tolan has found a remarkable story, and has told it in all its beauty and sadness." -- Adam Hochschild, author of "Bury the Chains" and "King Leopold' s Ghost" " Truly remarkable." -- Tom Segev, author of "One Palestine, Complete "and "1949: The First Israelis" Praise for "The Lemon Tree": "No novel could be more compelling...This book... will haunt you long after you put it down. And it will certainly be one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year."--"Christian Science Monitor""A graceful, compassionate and unmuddied presentation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lives of an Arab and a Jew, strangers who forge a connection and a reconciliation while never veering from their passionate desires for a homeland."--"Milwaukee Journal Sentinel""Quite simply the most important book I've read for ages...a handbook to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a narrative that captures its essence through tracing the connected lives of two extraordinary individuals. Literally the single work I'd recommend to anyone seeking to understand why the conflict remains unresolved, and why it continues to dominate the region."--"Time" "Beautifully told...a very poignant but impressively unsentimental story...It reads like a work of fiction."--"Nation""Sandy Tolan has found a remarkable story, and has told it in all its beauty and sadness."--Adam Hochschild, author of "Bury the Chains" and "King Leopold's Ghost""Truly remarkable."--Tom Segev, author of "One Palestine, Complete "and "1949: The First Israelis" Praise for "The Lemon Tree": " No novel could be more compelling...This book... will haunt you long after you put it down. And it will certainly be one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year." -- "Christian Science Monitor"" A graceful, compassionate and unmuddied presentation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lives of an Arab and a Jew, strangers who forge a connection and a reconciliation while never veering from their passionate desires for a homeland." -- "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel"" Quite simply the most important book I've read for ages...a handbook to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a narrative that captures its essence through tracing the connected lives of two extraordinary individuals. Literally the single work I' d recommend to anyone seeking to understand why the conflict remains unresolved, and why it continues to dominate the region." -- "Time" " Beautifully told... a very poignant but impressively unsentimental story... It reads like a work of fiction." -- "Nation"" Sandy Tolan has found a remarkable story, and has told it in all its beauty and sadness." -- Adam Hochschild, author of "Bury the Chains" and "King Leopold's Ghost"" Truly remarkable." -- Tom Segev, author of "One Palestine, Complete "and "1949: The First Israelis"

ISBN: 9781596913431
ISBN-10: 1596913436
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 362
Published: 17th April 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.26 x 14.05  x 2.52
Weight (kg): 0.35
Edition Type: Annotated