Benny Gantz said Friday he does not regret his decision to join what he called an emergency government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In a Facebook post, the new Knesset speaker said he did what was necessary in a time of emergency with a deadly virus claiming the lives of Israelis and economic ruin looming.
"It is up to leaders to choose the right thing to do and set personal considerations aside," Gantz said.
"We arrived at a crossroads and some of my partners thought it was best to opt for yet another election cycle rather than reach a compromise [with Netanyahu], but Gabi [former military chief Gabi Ashkenazi] and I along with many others decided that new elections at the time of such a prolonged emergency would be wrong."
Gantz said he had hoped to maintain the political partnership with the people whose values he shared, but they refused.
"They decided to break up the party," he said, adding that "my door remains open."
"I will not refuse to share in the burden of dealing with the crisis," Gantz wrote "We will pull the country out of the economic trauma and attempt to heal the rift caused by hatred that has been tearing us up from within."
One member of Gantz' Knesset faction and a member of the Druze minority in Israel, Gadeer Mreeh, said she would not serve under Netanyahu, whom she called corrupt.
"I had entered politics to replace this corrupt leadership," she said.
Gantz's former ally and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid on Thursday condemned the new speaker's decision.
“We ran together because Benny Gantz looked me in the eye and said he would never sit in this bad government. I believed him," Lapid said at a joint press conference with fellow Blue & White leader Moshe Ya'alon.
"Together with us, over a million Blue & White voters marched from street to street and from bridge to bridge… They feel betrayed today, and justifiably so. Their votes were stolen and given as a gift to Netanyahu," Lapid said.
“What’s being formed today isn’t a unity government or an emergency government. It’s another Netanyahu government. Benny Gantz surrendered without a fight and crawled into Netanyahu’s government.”