JERUSALEM — Israel’s divided government fell apart Tuesday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired two rebellious Cabinet ministers and called for a new election more than two years ahead of schedule.

Netanyahu’s announcement plunges the country into a bitter campaign that seemed unlikely just a few days earlier. The election, expected to be held early next year, would come at a time of growing violence between Palestinians and Jews and deepening despair over the prospects for peace.

In a nationally televised address, Netanyahu said he had ordered the dismissals of Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. The pair, who head separate centrist parties, had emerged as his leading critics.

Netanyahu accused the two of trying to stage a “putsch,” saying he could “not tolerate opposition from within the government.” He said he would present legislation in parliament to dissolve the government and to hold elections “as soon as possible.”

The government took office in 2013.