Even in the middle of a flattering piece profiling newly crowned opposition leader Benny Gantz, the New York Times could not help but subtly point out what many observers fear is a distinct possibility: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may test the resilience of Gantz’s Kachol Lavan party, itself a hodgepodge of various personalities and interests, by putting forth enticing legislation meant to peel away some of its more hawkish members into the governing coalition. In the same article MK Yoaz Hendel, a former journalist for Yediot Ahronot and former Director of Communications for Netanyahu long associated with the political right exclaimed that the likelihood of jumping ship was nil, yet days ago called into question his own observations when he voiced support for the prime minister’s promise to extend sovereignty over Israeli settlements.

Of course, the notion of center-right, centrist, or even left-leaning politicians sitting in a coalition with the prime minister is hardly novel. 2009 saw an Ehud Barak-led Labor joining Netanyahu as a Defense Minister, later creating the breakaway Atzmaut Party in 2011 in order to maintain his place in the coalition (a fact that many on the left have found difficult to forgive). In 2013 Yair Lapid, then head of Yesh Atid and Tzipi Livni, who had only recently formed Hatnuah, were given the Finance and Justice portfolios respectively. And in the summer of 2016, a year after forming his fourth government, Netanyahu was able to entice Zionist Union head Yitzhak Herzog before doing an about face and recruiting Yisrael Beiteiniu’s Avigdor Liberman instead. These political arrangements were, in some ways, highly transactional: the prime minister was able to stave off more extreme elements of his government, exploiting more moderate forces as a fig leaf, while these junior coalition parties were spared the fate of wasting away on the opposition benches.

While it’s improbable that Kachol Lavan’s leadership will be buddying up with the prime minister any time soon given the acrimonious nature of the campaign and their oft-repeated promise that they will act first and foremost as a fighting opposition, there is perhaps more reason to be concerned about the likelihood of a cluster of MKs splitting off in the near or medium future. Gantz’s achievement of 35 mandates—the same number of that of the ruling party—is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but there is little indication by any of the party leaders how and if they will capitalize on this mandate. Co-leader Lapid has stated that he intends to maintain relevancy by making life miserable for Likud, presumably by attempting to keep the matter of Netanyahu’s indictment hearings front and center. These are noble intentions, but somewhat confusing for many voters who would have likely preferred that the duo aggressively criticize the prime minister for his corruption when it mattered most—that is, during the campaign itself. Lapid has always, for better or worse, been a combative politician, so he may very well relish the opportunity to harass Netanyahu. The same may not be true of Gantz who has been hoping to revive a more dignified brand of politics, and may have neither the stomach nor patience to engage in this type of showmanship.

However, if in fact the two agree to continue primarily down this route, it will likely be a mistake that may reap short-term dividends but cost them dearly later on. Kachol Lavan’s entire campaign seemed to revolve around the fact that its leaders and worldview were staunchly opposed to Netanyahu, tapping into obvious frustration with the status quo among large swathes of the electorate. Yet while the party made clear what, or rather who it opposed, it did not spell out a concrete plan for the “day after”—in particular, a scenario in which it found itself confined to the opposition. A strategy primarily focused on harping on Netanyahu’s problematic traits did not, ultimately, lead enough followers to abandon him (indeed, such a strategy has failed against the prime minister on multiple occasions), and it’s unlikely to succeed as full-fledged policy either; maintaining such a level of confrontation is, in any case, simply not sustainable. Worse still, it may have the unintended consequences of alienating its constituents who will likely have the option of yet another centrist party come next election, keeping away new supporters, and solidifying Netanyahu’s siege mentality, a weapon he has used to great effect in rallying his base and calling into question the legitimacy of institutions and individuals who call him out for his transgressions.

Without a sense of what unites such a disparate group of politicians, voters who put their faith in Gantz may come to regret throwing their support behind a party offering neither direction nor substance.  Once this occurs, it is only natural that his own political allies will question the utility of their current arrangement, given their complete ineffectiveness as members of the opposition, and it is here that Netanyahu will take full advantage of such desperation. Many soft-right “Never Bibi” MKs who would otherwise feel relatively comfortable in Likud may voice the same excuse, as others have done in the past, of trying to stymie the most radical proposals of the prime minister’s more natural allies. For some voters, this may actually come as a relief, and fulfill, at least partially, the hopes of many of the electorate who voiced support for a national unity government and fear the rise of yet another purely nationalist coalition. But it will, ultimately, play directly into the hands of the prime minister: a weakened and divided opposition incapable of threatening Netanyahu’s rule, with a few hanger-on MKs, giving him the space to keep right-wing extremists from bringing down his coalition with unrealistic demands.

The 35 seats awarded to Gantz and Lapid are a clear sign that a significant portion of the Israeli electorate is clamoring for change, and should act as a springboard for further political consolidation. Yet without a clear agenda with which to rival the prime minister, the duo risk squandering their hard-won achievements and becoming a flash in the pan set to be replaced by yet another centrist upstart promising vague notions of change. The lesson should be clear: Netanyahu will not be defeated by the now-routine tendency to obsess over his shortcomings, in lieu of a concrete plan that successfully differentiates itself from the prime minister’s trajectory.