Israel is set to hold a fifth general election under four years, after its fractured coalition government concluded it could not survive.
In a major political development, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will switch places with Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid under an existing deal.
An election could take place in late October, commentators say.
The former prime minister and current opposition leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, has vowed to return to office.
Monday’s announcement comes after weeks of speculation that the coalition – the most diverse in Israel’s history – was on the brink of collapse.
It risked losing an important vote next week after a member of Mr Bennett’s own right-wing Yamina party quit the coalition, leaving it a minority in the 120-seat Knesset (prliament).
Mr Bennett said he had made the “right decision” in the interests of Israel’s security, as dissolving the Knesset extended temporary laws which were put in jeopardy by the vote.
The coalition had been teetering for weeks. Last week, Yamina MK Nir Orbach resigned from it, saying the government had failed in its main mission “of lifting [Israelis’] spirits” – a move which left it with only 59 seats. Others had also threatened to rebel.
The announcement yesterday caught members of the government by surprise.