The chances of Benjamin Netanyahu ever enjoying a majority of support in the Knesset again are as close to zero as they can be. He will not lead a unity government while fighting charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust; the opposition Kachol Lavan party’s platform may have often seemed light on substance throughout the two elections campaign of 2019, but its uniting principle was not to support an indicted prime minister, and especially not one hell bent on undermining the independent judiciary.

Nor will Netanyahu lead another right-religious government; Avigdor Liberman’s animosity toward the ultra-Orthodox parties, and their reluctance to cede politically valuable privileges and fiefdoms, have already sabotaged two attempts to form a right-wing coalition. As for a third election breaking the deadlock in favor of Netanyahu, polls do not indicate a surge in support for the prime minister and his bloc; in fact, about 56 percent of Israelis want him to leave now.

Netanyahu’s political career may be finished, but unless the High Court compels him to step down he will drag out the inevitable for as long as possible. It benefits him politically and he isn’t likely to face a serious internal rebellion. On Thursday, when Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit confirmed the indictments, Likud MK Gideon Saar called for a party primary in which he would challenge the prime minister. Saar, who is as right-wing as they come in Likud, deserves credit for openly challenging Netanyahu’s absurd claim that he is the victim of a deep state “coup.” But when it comes to talk of a revolt inside Likud, there is likely no real threat. The party is too weak and heavily invested in Netanyahu to abandon him now.

At one point, early on in his second and more successful run as Likud leader, Netanyahu’s power as party leader was partially constrained by internal institutions such as the Central Committee (especially when it was led by Danny Danon) and the Likud courts. At the time, Likud was more or less a western-style conservative party with a healthy stock of potential leaders. These included Saar, Yisrael Katz, Nir Barkat, Yuli Edelstein, Moshe Ya’alon, and Gila Gamliel. Many are still in the party, but they have been deprived of political oxygen and leadership opportunities as Netanyahu has consolidated power in the party.

The party is now less about ideas than it is about the man at the top. Since the breakup of the last moderate coalition it led in 2014, Likud has resembled more a vehicle for the “populist radical right,” argues political scientist Cas Mudde in his insightful book on the new wave of far-right politics. Likud has not succumbed to fascism, as some of its more hyperbolic critics sometimes say, but it has portrayed itself – and its leader – as being in a Manichean struggle with “the old elites” of the Labor Party, the legal establishment, the academy, and the press. Granted, Likud has successfully exploited the country’s social divisions since 1977, but that was usually in service of the party’s agenda. Today it is in service of one man’s career.

Likud is not the only right-of-center party that made this transition to personality-based populism in recent years. Fidesz, the ruling party in Hungary, was once seen as a repository for the democratic hopes of young nation reborn; now it is a vessel for the populist-nationalist ambitions of its leader, Viktor Orban. “These parties,” writes Mudde, “profit from a so-called ‘reputational shield,’ that is, their origins protect them from a far-right stigma.” Under Netanyahu, Likud has benefited from both its respectable pedigree and their leader’s populist rhetoric and image.

Without Netanyahu, there is not much left for Likud to distinguish itself from other right bloc parties. After all, what has Likud stood for in recent years besides for the continuation of Netanyahu’s rule? And what has Netanyahu stood for besides for the continued occupancy of the Netanyahu family in the prime ministerial residence on Balfour Street? What has been the Likud’s claim to leadership of the political right besides for Netanyahu’s hold on the kishkes of its voters?

Netanyahu’s personal appeal has weakened in recent elections, but there is no figure among the Israeli right who draws similar support and sympathy. Gideon Saar and other challengers will struggle in the face of polls showing the party performing better in a general election with Netanyahu at the helm. The self-interest argument for getting rid of Netanyahu is simply not as strong as some believe it is.

This is why Saar’s best argument is to demand a primary in order to preempt such an election, after which Netanyahu will still be unable to form a coalition. But with less than three weeks to act, he and others in the party opposed to Netanyahu’s continued leadership will find it incredibly difficult to oust him in these circumstances. The party has the power to set primaries for a date after the Knesset is dissolved, which will render Saar’s argument about stopping an election moot. The rebels’ big hope, though they can’t say it publicly, is a High Court ruling requiring Netanyahu to step down, or a judicial determination that he can’t be given the mandate to form a government while under indictment. As long as the challenge remains purely political, it’s hard to see Netanyahu losing Likud.