Blue & White leader Benny Gantz said Monday that he hopes Israel is "on the eve" of forming a new government after Yamina leader Naftali Bennett announced his intention to join the so-called "coalition for change."
Bennett announced on Sunday that he would be joining centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid in his effort to form a government without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, more than two months after the March 23 elections.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 20th annual conference of Israel's Bar Association in Eilat, the Blue & White chief - who holds posts as both defense and justice minister - blasted those who have threatened members of the right-wing party.
"The fact that due to democratic moves, elected officials are threatened, raises a great concern that we have not learned a lesson from either the Jewish history or the assassination of [former Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin," he said.
"It is time for all public leaders to come out unequivocally against any threats, whatever the democratic decisions may be taken. Everyone should respect them and refrain from fighting or God forbid, starting a civil war."
He said if the new government is formed, it will reflect the Israeli society and consist of "Jews, Arabs, women, men, religious and secular, with much political diversity, but with a basic common denominator of a desire for unity and social responsibility."
Gantz added that threats will not deter the coalition for change from taking shape in the near future.
"I hope we are on the eve of forming a new government. I will not get into the negotiation tactics, we said what we want. I am the one who gave up the Prime Minister's Office to allow the change of government," he said.
"I could have been prime minister for the next two and a half years and I gave it up. I allowed change in Israel, and I expect people to appreciate it."
Gantz is apparently set to retain his position as defense minister in the Lapid-Bennett government.
"Security is in good hands now and will remain in good and responsible hands in the new government as well. As I promised, political considerations will not overlap with security issues."