Thousands of Israelis opposed to a judicial overhaul planned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marched into Jerusalem on Saturday, as pressure mounts on his rightist government to scrap a bill that would curtail the Supreme Court’s powers.

Netanyahu’s religious-nationalist coalition says the bill, which parliament is scheduled to vote on by Monday, is needed to balance out the branches of power because the Court has become too interventionist.

Critics say it has a crucial role in safeguarding civil rights, in a country that has no constitution and a unicameral parliament dominated by the government.

Carrying blue and white Israeli flags, a column of protesters several kilometres (miles) long marched up the main highway to Jerusalem under a scorching summer sun, to the sounds of beating drums and anti-government chants and cheers.

The marchers have been walking for days, camping out overnight and often met by local residents offering food and drink.

They plan to rally outside parliament ahead of a Sunday debate and subsequent vote on the bill, which would limit the Supreme Court’s powers to void what it considers “unreasonable” government or ministerial decisions.

Protest leader Shikma Bressler, asked if she thought the marchers would manage to stop the vote, said she didn’t know.

“But the vote is not the last step,” she told Reuters. “This is why we are trying to build the forces …in this country to choose right from wrong, to choose light from darkness.”

The bill, its supporters say, is designed to facilitate effective governance with courts still keeping ample judicial oversight. Opponents say the change is being rushed through parliament and will open the door to corruption and abuses of power.

Polls suggest widespread misgivings among Israelis as the planned changes have dented the economy and worried key ally Washington, which has urged Netanyahu – who is on trial on corruption charges that he denies – to seek consensus on judicial reforms.

The crisis has even sown divisions within the military, long viewed as an apolitical melting pot for a fractious society, with concerns about war-readiness voiced on both sides of the debate.