IBILLIN, Israel — Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s nationalist foreign minister, stared coolly at the Arab politician sitting at the opposite end of a glass table during a televised election debate.
“Why did you come to this studio, why not to Gaza, or Ramallah? Why are you even here?” asked Mr. Lieberman, who frequently calls Israel’s Arab citizens traitors and suggests that their towns be transferred to Palestinian control. “You are not wanted here; you are a Palestinian citizen.”
The politician, Ayman Odeh, the leader of an alliance of Arab parties formed to contest Israeli elections on Tuesday, appeared unruffled.
“I am very welcome in my homeland,” he said, a subtle dig at Mr. Lieberman, an immigrant from the former Soviet republic of Moldova. “I am part of the nature, the surroundings, the landscape,” he said in Arabic-accented Hebrew.
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