Israelis back out in force against judiciary overhaul

STORY: After smaller scale protests last weekend following exchange of fire between Israel and a militant group in Gaza, Saturday's demonstrations appeared to be reinvigorated, with Hebrew media estimating some 100,000 in attendance.

A sea of blue and white Israeli flags, which have become a symbol of both pro- and anti-overhaul protests, coated a central highway in Tel Aviv, as protesters chanted, "Israel is almost a dictatorship."

Sagy Mizrahi said he joined the rally because the situation in Israel was "scaring" him. "It scares me that we are still a few hours away at any given moment from turning from a democracy to a dictatorship," he said.

Hava Golan shared similar concerns, saying, "Myself, my kids and my grandkids are losing the hope to live here in a democratic state."

The government says the planned overhaul is needed to restore balance between the judiciary and elected politicians, but put it on hold after opponents organised some of the biggest street protests ever seen in Israel, as critics worried it would remove vital checks and balances underpinning a democratic state and hand unchecked power to the government.