Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called on his political rival Blue & White Benny Gantz to meet with him and agree on terms for a unity government.
"Benny Gantz, it's time to show leadership and national responsibility," Netanyahu posted on his Twitter feed.
"The citizens of Israel need a unity government that will act to save their lives and livelihood. This is not the time for a fourth election. We both know that the differences are minor and could be overcome so we can form a government. let us meet and form a government today. I am waiting for you."
The prospect of a unity government seemed to be fading earlier Tuesday after the High Court instructed Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to bring his replacement to a vote by Wednesday at the latest after he refused to commit to a date for the vote.
A panel of five judges decided unanimously that Edelstein must convene the Knesset plenum to vote on the matter posthaste and not later than March 25.
Chief Justice Esther Hayut wrote in the court's ruling that, "The continued refusal to allow for a full Knesset vote for the election of a permanent Knesset Speaker undermines the foundations of the democratic process."
Likud ministers fumed over Blue & White's intention to replace the speaker with a member of their own party despite threats to discontinue unity talks.
Blue & White party members were equally outraged at what they saw as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's efforts to keep Edelstein in the speaker's chair while trampling on the court and in disregard for its authority.
Edelstein has yet to announce his decisions after the High Court's unanimous ruling Monday but had earlier said that the High Court was "intervening in an unprecedented way in the Knesset timetable in a politically motivated manner," increasing the tensions between the prime minister's political camp and the judicial system.
The right-wing and religious parties hailed the speaker's refusal to name a date for the vote though some, including former justice minister Ayelet Shaked and leading members of Likud who while critical of the court's "interference," said its rulings must be upheld.
Political sources say there have been no talks on a unity government between the two main Knesset factions since last Thursday.
Gantz also called on Netanyahu to speak out against his allies' attacks on the High Court asking the prime minister, "why do you remain silent?"