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Veteran Israeli settler says democracy is obstacle

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Israel's democracy has long been a point of pride for its citizens — setting the country apart in a region of autocratic governments. But veteran settler leader Benny Katzover says democracy is getting in the way of what he believes is a higher purpose.

"We didn't come here to establish a democratic state," Katzover said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We came here to return the Jewish people to their land."

Katzover's comments appear to reflect a growing radicalization among some right-wing religious groups. They come at a time of a rise in attacks on Palestinians by vigilante settlers and an increase in complaints by liberal Israelis that the country's right-wing parliament and government have launched an unprecedented attack on the pillars of democracy. Israel has preserved its democratic system through decades of turmoil, though it never extended it to Palestinians in occupied lands.


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