Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in a televised address to the nation on Sunday. Photo: AFP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday it would be “irresponsible” to call snap elections now and vowed to push on despite a coalition crisis.

In a national television address, Netanyahu also said he would retain the Defense Ministry portfolio for the time being and try to persuade his coalition partners to stay in the government.

“To go to elections now would be irresponsible,” Netanyahu said. “The security of the country is above political considerations.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s far-right Jewish Home party has threatened to pull out of the coalition if he is not given the defense minister post.

Netanyahu made the TV appearance as he came under pressure over a controversial ceasefire agreement last week that ended the worst escalation between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since 2014.

On Wednesday, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned over the ceasefire, plunging the government into crisis.

– With reporting from Agence France-Presse