“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.