But under law, Edelstein remains at his post until Friday, and Peretz's appointment to oversee the vote on his replacement meant it could be held before the next scheduled session of parliament on Monday. Three back-to-back elections, in which he's been pitted against Gantz, have ended inconclusively, and on top of the gridlock, Israel is now also facing severe economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
Yuli Edelstein accuses the court of trying to usurp parliamentary authorities, while critics castigate his defiance of the bench as an assault on Israel's democracy.
His unexpected announcement opens the way for a vote to elect his successor, for which the court had set a Wednesday deadline.More news: Dua Lipa moves forward new album release
But a source within the Blue and White party, who requested anonymity, told AFP that Gantz's bid to become speaker was part of an effort to form an emergency government with Likud. "The Supreme Court's decision is not based on how the law is worded, but on a one-sided and extremist interpretation".
After he refused to comply - with the encouragement of Netanyahu allies including the justice minister - the court issued a binding order for a vote by Wednesday. However, Adelstein submitted his resignation before the end of the court's deadline. "While the Court's decision was necessary, it is of course legitimate to disagree with the ruling". Throughout three elections, the former head of the army has run campaigns squarely focused on promises to oust Netanyahu, who is under indictment for alleged corruption. "My conscience will not permit me to comply with the order", he said.
Likud rallied behind Edelstein even as parliament's legal adviser formally informed him he was violating the ruling, despite his resignation - noting it goes into effect only in 48 hours.More news: Sussex County has 10 more positive COVID-19 cases on Wednesday
Tamar Zandberg, a member of the leftwing Meretz party allied with Blue and White, accused Gantz of abandoning millions of voters who sought an alternative to Netanyahu.
In Israel's third election in 15 months held earlier this month, Blue and White edged past the 60-seat threshold and had been tasked by President Reuven Rivlin to form a government. There have been talks, but no breakthrough.More news: 1 death, 42 new cases of COVID-19 in BC