A repeat election offers the Israeli opposition an unprecedented opportunity to fix easy mistakes that were made less than two months ago. With the sting of defeat still aching, it is possible a reversion to counterproductive habits can be avoided this time. The main problem, of course, is that there isn’t one Israeli opposition but three – the Zionist center, the Zionist left, and the Arab parties – and they all suffer from rather idiosyncratic maladies.

Changing course where appropriate, while valuable, will also not prevent the domineering right bloc from patching up what prevented a decisive victory for them in April: an unrealistically large number of parties competing for a finite number of voters within a bloc whose lead party, Likud, tends to consume seats from smaller right-wing parties like a ravenous vacuum cleaner. An estimated 360,000 right-wing votes were “wasted” in the April vote on parties that failed to pass the electoral threshold. Had Zehut and the New Right made it into the Knesset, the right-wing parties would’ve certainly secured a comfortable majority. Yet if the opposition is to stand a chance, the three blocs mentioned above can’t continue to operate in senseless ways.

The Zionist center, led today by Kachol Lavan, has long struggled to define itself in politically relevant terms. Unfortunately, this weakness may be immutable. The collapse in support for the peace process as well as for bold unilateral withdrawals from Palestinian territory necessarily reduced the policy gap that existed between the center and the Zionist right; as a result, Israelis have lacked a compelling security-related reason to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. What this has effectively meant are centrist campaigns rooted in economic concerns and focused criticism of Netanyahu’s character.

The downside of economic campaigns is that Israel’s proportional representation system, in which Knesset seats are distributed by national vote percentages for parties, probably encourages economically-minded voters to find parties that serve their specific interests – Yisrael Beteinu, Kulanu, Gesher, Shas, and UTJ being the most obvious examples. A prime ministerial candidate’s economic pledges are the most likely to be sacrificed or significantly altered in coalition negotiations. By contrast, the prime minister alone has tremendous sway over security and diplomatic policy. In the contest for who should lead the government, it is the leadership qualities relevant to national defense and diplomacy that are most germane.

Which leaves character as Netanyahu’s primary vulnerability, and it’s a serious one. But is it sufficient? The April results suggests no. While the attorney general’s decision today not to delay Netanyahu’s pre-indictment hearing again raises the possibility of lurid leaks and prolonged public attention on the prime minister’s legal troubles, I am not convinced it will be enough to prevent Netanyahu from emerging as a clear winner.

If the opposition is to prevent Netanyahu from commanding a majority in the Knesset, it will be done on the margins and with the help of a newly empowered Avigdor Liberman. The Zionist center may publicly reject them, but the performances of the Zionist left and the Arab blocs will be at the heart of any strategy to assemble a blocking majority. Even if the ultimate objective is a unity government without Netanyahu on top, stirring enough internal unrest to oust him from the leadership of Likud will surely require enough parliamentary mandates to hold out and prevent another dissolution of the Kensset. For Kachol Lavan to triumph, the parties to its left will have to maximize their potential support.

So the Zionist left can’t afford to squander seats and descend into bitter divisions over marginalia, which is their wont. No justification remains for Labor and Meretz to run on distinct lists, especially given that Meretz would not have crossed the threshold without unexpected Arab support that likely won’t be repeated. The Labor Party’s centrist voters fled to Kachol Lavan in April and they will do so again. Whoever replaces Avi Gabbay in the party leadership election next month will need to convince the party faithful to go along with a merger.

Finally, the Joint List must be reconstituted in order to prevent seats from being lost to the threshold and drive up Arab turnout. Despite all the Arab parties making it into the Knesset in April, the bloc lost 3 seats overall, a stinging rebuke to political leaders who chose to kill the Joint List. It appears the correct moves are being made to revive the joint ticket ahead of the new election. Apart from ego, the most enticing obstacle is a “Jewish-Arab partnership,” likely taking the form of Hadash and Ta’al running on a list with Meretz. I would enthusiastically support such a partnership in more staid times, but that is not now. The opposition should aim to run just three tickets, which will guarantee their minimum number of seats and hopefully maximize turnout within each sector.