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David Halbfinger recently returned to the United States after nearly four years as The New York Times’s Jerusalem bureau chief, a role widely considered one of the most sensitive jobs in journalism. His next challenge is proving to be just as big a test: Heading the paper’s U.S. political coverage during a time of partisan division and what looks to be a bare-knuckle midterm election in 2022.

In a recent conversation, Mr. Halbfinger, who served as deputy politics editor during the 2016 presidential race, discussed the reasons he wanted the job, the differences between working in Israel and the United States and the value he sees in even some of the most virulent criticism. This interview has been edited and condensed.

You spent the past four years as the Jerusalem bureau chief. What brought you back to…

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