There are a number of historical and political explanations for the exclusion of Arab parties from coalition governments in Israel, all of which can be summarized into the following, rather simple conundrum: mainstream Zionist political parties, which run the gamut from Labor to Likud, are unwilling to sit in government with non- and anti-Zionists; similarly, the non- and anti-Zionists of Arab political parties perceive a heavy political price for joining a Zionist-led coalition. According to this understanding, the prospect of Jewish-Arab political partnerships is squeezed by two opposing forces.

Last month, I wrote about the potential for softening Jewish-Zionist opposition to Arab inclusion in coalition governments. Admittedly, this probably won’t happen in the near future. However, despite the long odds, we can now confirm that the other force of opposition is not as strong as previously believed: according to a poll released by the Abraham Initiatives, two-thirds of Arab-Israelis would support Arab MKs sitting in a center-left coalition. Around 80 percent of respondents approved of Arab MKs supporting such a coalition government from the opposition benches, an arrangement that came to fruition after the 1992 election when the Rabin government was supported by Hadash (the largest party in today’s Joint List) and the Arab Democratic Party. This, combined with centrist orientation of the main opposition, opens up an opportunity for the Zionist Left to further erode the stigma associated with Jewish-Arab political cooperation.

While the data from the Abraham Initiatives represent only one survey, they at least indicate that the conventional wisdom about Arab voters is not all-encompassing. There is room for a party or parties that will adopt a more collaborative stance towards Zionist parties committed to democracy, an end to the occupation, and social equality. This could bolster the fortunes of the opposition as a whole.

Which is why Ahmad Tibi’s decision to break off from the Joint List and run on his own is a potential gamechanger. Tibi is a former adviser on Israeli affairs to Yasser Arafat who has long supported the two-state solution in principle but is now skeptical of its viability. Yet he remains a pragmatist who understands the wide gulf between Netanyahu and his opponents. In an interview last week with +972 Magazine Tibi said, “If there is an Arab party that says it is not waiting for another opportunity like in the ‘90s, then it either does not understand politics or it is making a mistake and being deliberately deceitful. I hope we reach a situation in which our numbers and political power match what we had in the ‘90s.”

Tibi’s party, Ta’al, has averaged a respectable six seats in polls (with the electoral threshold at 3.25 percent, a party with the minimum required votes to enter the Knesset would have four seats)While he is opposed to joining a coalition because of the potential association with security policies, he is clearly open to being part of a crucial “blocking coalition” to another Netanyahu-led government. Indeed, this seems to the main quality that distinguishes him from more extreme members of the Joint List.

The question is who will be the alternative to Netanyahu. The answer, as of today, appears to be the putatively centrist Hosen Leyisrael, the new party led by Benny Gantz. The former IDF chief of staff, who gave his first campaign speech yesterday in which he announced the party’s joint ticket with Moshe Ya’alon’s party, has apparently opted to take a stance on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that stands between ambiguity and the center-right. Gantz endorsed (domestically) widely accepted Israeli negotiating positions on the Jordan Valley and the settlement blocs, and voiced pro forma commitment to a “united Jerusalem.” He expressed a willingness to pursue peace but acknowledged its unlikelihood.

Simply put, these are not views that appear inviting to someone like Ahmad Tibi. The hawkish Ya’alon’s inclusion suggests that Hosen Leyisrael will not make withdrawal from territory a political priority. Gantz’s history as the IDF leader who carried out Operation Protective Edge (2014) in Gaza only makes the sell even tougher.

Luckily, Gantz and Tibi do not need to agree on all issues to benefit from each other’s presence in the Kensset. They just need to both broadly agree that Israel is better off without Netanyahu as premier. Ta’al, and perhaps even Hadash, could help provide the votes for a blocking majority of 61 that would ensure Gantz receives the first chance to form a government after the election.

The Labor Party, whose chairman, Avi Gabbay, has now started to explicitly refer to movement on the Palestinian issue as a diplomatic priority for Israel, could start doing the work of broaching the topic publicly, which could help drive up Arab turnout and draw the right’s fire away from Gantz. Yair Lapid, who will soon realize he can’t compete with Gantz and Ya’alon for the votes of the “soft right,” should drop his prime ministerial pretensions and consider a joint ticket with Tzipi Livni to maximize his party’s influence. I surmise Meretz will not be an impediment to blocking Netanyahu.

All of this assumes that no party left of Gantz harbors a desire or willingness to join another Netanyahu-led cabinet. If the attorney general recommends an indictment against the prime minister next month, as is likely, I will be very close to certain this is the case. At that time, the total number of seats won by the Center-Left-Arab bloc will prove decisive, as will the composition of “Center”: if Gesher, led by Orly Levy, decides to link up with Gantz (who is reportedly seeking her support), the anti-Netanyahu blocking majority will come into full view.