The other night I went to listen to Sandy Tolan read from his book The Lemon Tree. Grassroots International’s friend Hilda Silverman, a long time activist for Palestinian rights who sadly passed away recently, had invited Sandy to Cambridge.
The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew and the Heart of the Middle East is an agonizingly beautiful, sad and yet even hopeful story of two people and two peoples, two nations and one land. Listening again, as I have before, to the stories of partition, independence, refugees and war, I was overcome with emotion and my thoughts wandered as they have often during such times to my own India-Pakistan. And I had to remind myself that this was Palestine-Israel.
Weaving historical facts over a span of 60 years, it revolves around the lives of and relationship between Bashir Khairi – a Palestinian Arab whose family lost their home and a homeland in 1948 – and Dalia Eshkenazi – an Israeli Jew whose family got that home and a homeland that year. This week, as Palestinians observe the nakba (catastrophe) and Israelis celebrate independence, we invite you to read this account of Bashir and Dalia’s first meeting.