The Open House in Ramle

The house depicted in this book is an actual place, and the lemon tree in its yard is a real one.

You could see the place for yourself if you boarded a bus in the West Jerusalem terminal, rode west, climbed and then plunged down the hills toward the Mediterranean, and banked up a two-lane rise until you came to a bustling, industrial town in a place once known as Palestine that is now the state of Israel.

When you stepped off the bus you’d walk down the busy main road known as Herzl Boulevard, past the juice vendors, the kebab stands, and the old storefronts selling trinkets and cheap clothing and take a left at a street called Klausner.

There, at the next corner, you’d spot a run-down gas station, and across the street a modest house with a pillared fence, a towering palm, and stones the color of cream.

This is the place, you could say to yourself. This is the house with two histories. The house with the lemon tree.


Today it is a center for peace and reconciliation between Israeli Arabs and Jews. The house was dedicated by the two families who have called it home to the work of building a better society, with peace, equality and dignity for all. Read more about the work of The Open House in Ramle, Israel, and Friends of Open House in Northamton, MA USA.

Bashir now lives in Ramallah where he practices law.

Dalia now lives in Jerusalem and is active in the work of The Open House.