Maybe the Arabs Will Save Us

“The Arabs will be the cornerstone of democracy.”

Aymen Odeh head of the Joint List,  third largest block in Israel’s parliament.


So many years go I went to Israel

for the first time in a Volunteer Program

called Sherut La’am.  Service of the People.

They sent us to learn Hebrew in Nazareth,  crazy

small ancient city in the Galilee where Jesus was,

where pilgrims come every day,  where in this Christian city

Muslim Arabs are more than half of the population.  Israeli Jews

built a new city above the old, on a hill.  Ever since then

I have often tried in books and poems

in other ways to describe the city of Nazareth,

a place with A Big History and the usual small daily lives.

meals and tea and sex and children and old relatives and cats and dogs

and jokes and people everywhere winding streets prayers

and communists when you visit Nazareth not the Big Church

just the streets where people sit mostly talking not about What Will Happen

but What Happened Yesterday where people sit and fall in and out of love

and discuss relatives and maybe politics maybe not you the stranger

visitor trying to understand Something Anything a person passing through

you might think to yourself This is Real Life,  maybe even hope.

Esther Cohen
Let me tell you why I'm here, and why I hope you'll join me. I am here to poem, to play with words, to tell stories when I can, and to ask you for yours. Words are what I love, how I see, and what I say. Words are how I know my life, and how I find my friends. I'm here to ask you to join me. Right here. To send me your stories, and your poems. And to read mine when you can.


  1. Anyone is touched even a bit by this poem should read My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet’s Life in the Palestinian Century a biography of poet Taha Muhammad Ali by Adina Hoffman.

  2. Remember the unfortunate pun
    the Jewish Nazareth is called?
    In Hebrew it means Upper Nazareth,
    purely a geographical term:
    it’s in the hills. Or maybe it could
    translate to Nazareth Heights,
    also innocent enough.
    But the Hebrew word is
    “Natzeret Elite”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: