Yuval Steinitz, the intelligence minister and a senior confidante to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, reacted angrily to Arab lawmakers in the Knesset on Wednesday for suggesting that the Jewish presence in Israel was "colonialist" in nature.

"Those who say that Jews are colonialists in the land of their forefathers are racists," Steinitz said, prompting catcalls and heckling from Arab MKs.

"Accusing the Jews of colonialism is a sophisticated way of suggesting that Jews need to be expelled from here," Steinitz said.

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