President Reuven Rivlin on Monday gave Blue & White leader Benny Gantz the mandate to form the next government after he secured the support of 61 MKs.
"A fourth round of elections are not possible and the keys to forming a government in Israel are currently in your hands and those of all elected officials from all parties," Rivlin said at the ceremony in Jerusalem.
Rivlin also addressed the need for the quick formation of the government in order to tackle the coronavirus crisis.
"The law gives you twenty-eight days, starting tomorrow, for forming a government," he said.
"This is a short period, but given the current circumstances of a national and global emergency, it is too long. The urgency of the hour and the size of the challenges before demand that we form a government in Israel."
Gantz said in response that he would try to make the process as speedy as possible and would endeavor to be as inclusive as possible.
"I give you my word, I will do all in my ability to establish within a few days as broad and patriotic a government as possible," he said.
The move came a day after Gantz secured the support of 61 MKs in the 120-strong Knesset to form the next government. The president on Sunday held a series of meetings with party leaders to hear who they had recommended to form the next government.
Former military leader Gantz received the backing of Joint List, the predominantly Arab party that won 15 seats on March 2, making it the third largest party in parliament. A short time later Avigdor Liberman, whose party won seven seats in the vote two weeks ago also lent his support to Gantz.
"We were in talks with Blue & White and discussed all kinds of issues, including the diplomatic front," said Joint List leader Ayman Odeh as he met with Rivlin Sunday.
"We talked, for example, about a huge economic plan, the eradication of violence in Arab society. Some of the things we agreed on and some we still have gaps," he said.
Odeh warned however that his party would not support a unity government between Likud and Blue & White.
"If Gantz enters a national unity government we will be the main opponents," he said. "If Gantz wants to establish a center-left government then we recommend him. We want a center-left government, and all 15 members of the Joint List do recommend him."
Rivlin on Sunday night summoned both Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to his residence in Jerusalem for an urgent meeting on immediately forming a unity government.
Although Gantz has the backing of more than half of MKs to try to form a government, it does not mean that he can muster enough lawmakers to agree to join his coalition.
Joint List has repeatedly said said it will not sit in any government, while Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman and two members of Gantz's own party, say they will refuse to be part of a government that relies on support from the Joint List.
MK Orly Levy, who joined her faltering Gesher party in an alliance with the left-wing Labor and Meretz ahead of the election, has refused to endorse either side despite agreeing to back Gantz before the vote.
Liberman told the president on Sunday that he supports Gantz, but also called for the formation of an "emergency" unity government to deal with the coronavirus threat.
Netanyahu, in his caretaker role, invited Gantz to join him in an emergency government. Gantz has left the door open to such an arrangement, but also dismissed the offers as insincere.
Facing a difficult decision, Rivlin summoned the two men to his residence late Sunday in hopes of breaking the deadlock. Earlier, he implored for a power-sharing unity deal.
"Anyone who has watched the news in recent days understands that this is a time of trial, and that these are not regular consultations," he said.
"We must now deal with forming a government as soon as possible ... at this complex time."