According to media reports, more than 160,000 people demonstrated in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on Saturday evening against the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing religious government. Demonstrators also gathered in other major cities across the country, waving blue and white Israeli flags.

After the opening of the new parliamentary session this Sunday, the government is expected to make another push to implement a controversial judicial reform. Opponents of the reform see it as a threat to democracy in Israel, which is why there have been massive protests across the country for around four months.

Around 200,000 supporters of judicial reform demonstrated in Jerusalem on Thursday evening. Netanyahu initially suspended the reform plans last month after massive criticism. However, talks between the government and the opposition mediated by President Izchak Herzog have so far failed to reach an agreement.

According to Israeli media reports, the government first wants to approve the budget for the current and next year before taking further steps to weaken the judicial system. Should this not succeed by May 29th, there would be automatic new elections.

However, ultra-Orthodox parties are calling for the passage of a law that would de facto exempt strictly religious men from military service as a condition of their support. This caused great anger in the liberal camp. A new large-scale rally under the motto “Day of National Equality” is therefore planned for Thursday.