Israel's hawkish former defense minister is attacking the government as corrupt and extreme — pledging to challenge it in the next election.

Moshe Yaalon told foreign reporters on Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government "didn't demonstrate its responsibility" and had undermined the country's democratic values.

Yaalon, who now heads a new political movement, said the extremist culture of "generating hatred for short-term political benefits" posed a greater challenge to Israel than Islamic militants.

Yaalon, a former military chief, was forced to resign last year after Netanyahu expanded his coalition government and offered the defense post to Avigdor Lieberman, a firebrand leader of a hard-line nationalist party.

Netanyahu and Yaalon had been at odds following a series of disagreements between political hard-liners and military leaders, with Yaalon backing the military.