Lemon Tree (2008)
"Etz Limon" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  27 March 2008 (Israel)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 5,076 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 33 user | 86 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

The story of a Palestinian widow who must defend her lemontree field when a new Israeli Defense Minister moves next to her and threatens to have her lemon grove torn down.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Salma Zidane
Rona Lipaz-Michael ...
Mira Navon
Ziad Daud
Doron Tavory ...
Defense Minister Israel Navon
Abu Hussam (as Tarik Copti)
Amos Lavi ...
Commander Jacob (as Amos Lavie)
Amnon Wolf ...
Smadar Jaaron ...
Tamar Gera (as Smadar Yaaron)
Danny Leshman ...
Private Itamar 'Quickie'
Ayelet Robinson ...
Simon Hasson
Loai Nofi ...
Nasser Zidane (as Loai Noufi)
Sigi Navon
Abu Kamal (as Makram J. Khoury)


Salma Zidane, a widow, lives simply from her grove of lemon trees in the West Bank's occupied territory. The Israeli defense minister and his wife move next door; the Secret Service orders the trees removed for security. The stoic Salma seeks assistance from the Palestinian Authority (useless), Israeli army (dismissive), and a young attorney, Ziad Daud, who takes the case; this older client attracts him. While the courts deliberate, the Israelis fence her trees and prohibit her from entering the grove. As the trees wither, the defense minister's wife and, separately, an Israeli journalist, look on Salma with sympathy. In this allegory, does David stand a chance against Goliath? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Release Date:

27 March 2008 (Israel)  »

Also Known As:

Lemon Tree  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,602 (USA) (17 April 2009)


$566,052 (USA) (7 August 2009)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Title Card: [last title card]
[after the end credits]
Title Card: Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
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Crazy Credits

After the end credits are over, the theme song's chorus "Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat" is shown on screen. See more »


References Desperate Housewives (2004) See more »


May I
By Jonathan Riklis
© JRikus Music
Performed by Jonathan Riklis - Piano
Lior Petershtein - Tenor Saxsophone
Amir Sadat - Bass
Eran Fink - Drums
Recorded live at the Avihai Hall in Jerusalem
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Sensitive Inside View of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict
7 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

LEMON TREE (ETZ LIMON) is a film of quiet power, the kind of film that does not find it necessary to expose the audience to violence and conflagrations to make its point, but instead relies on the power of human reactions to carry the very heartfelt punch. Written by Suha Arraf and Eran Riklis (who also directs) the story is a deceptively simple one. The setting is the West Bank. On the Palestinian side of the border lives the widow Salma Zidane (the enormously gifted actress Hiam Abbass remembered best by American audiences for her luminous portrayal of the mother in THE VISITOR) who continues to tend her family's lemon grove alone, barely making enough money to support herself. Abruptly, on the Israeli side of the border, the government builds a house for the Israeli Defense Minister Israel Navon (Doron Tavory) and his beautiful and wisely sensitive wife Mira Navon (Rona Lipaz-Michael). Strange neighbors, these, more under the influence of the Israeli Secret Police who are assigned to guard the Minister than sensitive to the basic kindness of human decency. The Secret Service decides the lemon grove must be cut down to guard against possible terrorist access to the Minister, a declaration that sets off Salma's fear of losing her land and income. Salma seeks the help of young lawyer Zaid Daud (Ali Suliman) who bonds with her emotionally and legally and together they fight all the way to the Supreme Court to save the lemon trees. Fences are built, soldiers abuse the privacy of Salma, and the increased publicity in the media divides not only the peoples on both sides of the border but also the Navons: Mira empathizes with Salma, champions her rights, and though the two women never meet, the bond between them transcends the ages long hostilities between the Arabs and the Israelis. The result of the interpersonal conflict between the Navons and Salma is buried by the expected governmental insensitivity and the film ends with some sad surprises.

The cast of this film, including the minor roles that draw focus for only moments but in a memorable manner, is uniformly exceptional. Hiam Abbass is rapidly becoming one of the most impressive actresses on the screen today: she says more with her eyes and her body language than pages of dialogue could attempt. The surprises come from the other members of the quartet of actors that lead this story, so impressive are their portrayals that the entire question of the West Bank conflict seems understandable...and remedial! Based on a true story, this is an excellent film on many levels. In Hebrew, Arabic, English and French with subtitles.

Grady Harp

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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