Israeli minister Avigdor Lieberman, a populist politician frequently compared to Austria's Jörg Haider and France's Jean-Marie le Pen, was quoted as saying by a British newspaper interview on Sunday that Israel's Arab minority was a "problem" which required "separation" from the Jewish state. "We established Israel as a Jewish country," the Sunday Telegraph quoted Lieberman as saying.
"I want to provide an Israel that is a Jewish, Zionist country. It's about what kind of country we want to see in the future. Either it will be an [ethnically mixed] country like any other, or it will continue as a Jewish country." Israel was on the "front line of a clash of civilisations between the free world and extremist Islam," he added.
Lieberman has often made remarks condemned as racist toward Israel's Arab minority. In June, he was quoted as saying that Arab MKs who held contacts with Hamas should be executed.
"Minorities are the biggest problem in the world," the Sunday Telegraph quoted Lieberman as saying. Asked by the newspaper if citizens of Arab descent should be forced out through territorial redistribution, he said: "I think separation between two nations is the best solution. Cyprus is the best model. Before 1974, the Greeks and Turks lived together and there were frictions and bloodshed and terror.
"After 1974, they constituted all Turks on one part of the island, all Greeks on the other part of the island and there is stability and security."
Lieberman, who has previously urged Israel to bomb Teheran, said: "Iran is the base of an axis of evil which is a problem for all the world." On Iran, he added: "Every week, the president of Iran declares his intention to destroy us."