Tens of thousands streamed onto a Tel Aviv square after sundown Thursday, demanding that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resign because of a government inquiry's scathing criticism of his handling of the inconclusive war in Lebanon last summer.
Olmert remained defiant, hoping to beat back a rising wave of calls to step down. A day after his popular foreign minister joined the chorus, Olmert's aides argued it was not a mortal political blow, but conceded a large-scale public protest campaign could bring him down.
Turnout on the square in front of Tel Aviv's City Hall appeared to top 100,000, but police refused to estimate the crowd's size.
The rally drew a cross-section of Israelis -- moderates and hard-liners, secular and religious, young and old, a rare mix symbolizing the widespread dissatisfaction with Olmert.
This isn't the first time an Israeli PM has earned his people's derision after disgracing himself in Lebanon:
In 1982, hundreds of thousands marched to the square to protest Israel's involvement in the massacre of Palestinian refugees in Beirut by a Christian militia, a step toward the resignation of then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and the eventual retirement of Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
In many ways, the terms of debate around Israeli actions are much broader in Israel than here.