Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday vowed to "overthrow" the coalition poised to replace his government, as he teeters on the brink of being ousted from his role as Israel's longest-serving prime minister.
The threat came a day after the head of the domestic security services warned that the heated political discourse could spark physical violence.
"Recently we have identified a grave increase and intensification in violent and inciting discourse, particularly on social media," Nadav Argaman, head of the Israel Security Agency, said on Saturday.
"This discourse includes grave statements, using strong, hateful language, and even calls for physical attacks."
"As someone who leads an organisation meant to protect the nation's security, democratic regime and institutions, I am [warning] that this discourse may be interpreted by certain groups or lone wolves as permission for violence and illegal activity that could lead to physical harm."
Argaman did not name individuals in his warning.
Israel's fractious politics have caused a years-long political crisis, with four inconclusive elections held in the past two and a half years.
Now, a patchwork coalition formed of Left, centre, Right, religious, nationalist, and, for the first time, an Arab Islamist party, has come together to oust Netanyhau.
As the leader tries to keep power, he has attacked what he says will be a "dangerous Left-wing government".
Yesterday, he vowed to work to bring down the new government as soon as it was sworn in.
"We will strongly oppose the formation of this dangerous government of fraud and surrender, and if, God forbid, it is established - we will overthrow it very quickly," he said.
He added that the "obligation to calm tensions and to restrain the discourse" fell on the shoulders of the politicians and religious leaders.
Supporters and members of the "change government" have faced protests and intense threats in the week since the coalition was announced.
The Al Jazeera media network said one of its reporters, Givara Budeiri, had been assaulted and arrested by Israeli police while covering a protest there. A police spokesperson claimed that Budeiri had assaulted officers and had refused to identify herself.
Israeli police also arrested a 23-year-old woman who has led protests against attempts by Jewish settlers to evict dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in the contested Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem. The young woman was later released, but her twin brother turned himself in and remained in custody.
Earlier this year, heavy-handed police actions in Sheikh Jarrah and other parts of East Jerusalem fuelled weeks of unrest that helped spark an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
The area is one of the most sensitive parts of East Jerusalem, which is home to sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims and which Israel captured in 1967 and annexed in a move not recognised internationally. Israel views the entire city as its capital, while the Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Settler groups and Israeli officials say the Sheikh Jarrah dispute is merely about real estate. But Palestinians say they are victims of a discriminatory system.
The settlers are using a 1970 law that allows Jews to reclaim formerly Jewish properties lost during the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation, a right denied to Palestinians who lost property in the same conflict.
- additional reporting: AP