Following Benjamin Netanyahu’s resounding victory in last week’s party leadership election, it’s safe to say Likud clearly approves of the prime minister and is keen on him remaining leader of the party for the foreseeable future. For the party, in the short-term, this makes sense: thus far, every poll taken has shown Netanyahu maximizing electoral support for Likud. Sa’ar was surely right that Netanyahu will have a more difficult time actually forming a coalition, given the narrow set of option(s) available to him in pursuit of immunity from prosecution, but Netanyahu remains the best political choice for Likud.

What is good for Likud, though, is not necessarily good for the country. The 2020s could prove to be a pivotal decade for Israel, one in which it will need a flexible leader free of the kind of political and ideological baggage burdening the incumbent. To name just a few potential challenges: talk of the “demise of the two-state solution” could become, for more people on both the left and right, a settled matter; the rise of China, and Chinese economic interests in Israel, could drive a wedge between Jerusalem and Washington; the inevitable end of the Trump era could lead to a rude awakening for an Israeli government accustomed to overly favorable gestures from the U.S.; and the regional dynamics may not turn out to be as favorable as some believe.

In the next decade, we will mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Oslo Accords without making any concrete progress toward a final status agreement. Not only does the two-state solution remain elusive, but the continued functioning of the status quo is in serious doubt; the 2020s will probably see a new Palestinian president, either elected on or beholden to desires for change. If Israel annexes the Jordan Valley, a quite realistic danger, it could set in motion a series of events that will result in the collapse of the Palestinian Authority and an abrupt end to cordial relations with Amman. Either one of these outcomes, and certainly both, would deal a significant blow to Israel’s diplomatic and security interests.

Relatedly, the end of the Trump administration – whether in January 2021 or 2025 – may provoke a reassessment of Israel in the U.S., especially if a progressive Democrat is elected. The moralistic triumphalism of the anti-Israel left and the hyperbole of the pro-Israel right are most likely both overdone, but Israel should be under no illusions that Trump is the new normal. Israel’s utility as an ally won’t diminish, but it may not be able to rely on Washington’s diplomatic umbrella if it exacerbates tensions in the territories.

The next Israeli government will also need to carefully calibrate the country’s position vis-a-vis Beijing and Moscow. China’s challenge to American interests is global, including the Middle East, where in recent years the U.S. has been reluctant to intervene when American lives are not at risk. Last Friday, Russia, Iran, and China held an historic joint military exercise in the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. will remain the preeminent global power in the 2020s, but Russia and China’s relative influence in the region may grow. The Israeli prime minister of the future will be in charge of managing this complicated web of relationships.

Netanyahu is not incapable of meeting any one of these challenges. By most accounts, for example, he has ably handled relations with Russia since their 2015 intervention in the Syrian civil war (although the analyst Kyle Orton offered a dissenting view in Haaretz in April, which is worth reading). It is the combination of foreign policy challenges, greater uncertainty in the occupied territories, over-investment in one particular party in the U.S., and the prime minister’s domestic limitations that demand new leadership.

Those limitations are not only legal. Even if Netanyahu’s bloc were to win a convincing majority in the next election and grant the prime minister immunity from prosecution – a scenario which, at the moment, is only realistic if one of the center-left parties falls beneath the electoral threshold – he will be a prisoner to those parties that provide him with a narrow majority. A government dependent on the likes of Bezalel Smotrich, with no credible “threat” of being replaced with a moderate or liberal party, will not be able to freeze settlement construction or definitively rule out annexation – two things the government may have to do to placate a future American administration, or give Beijing and Moscow a reason to look the other way when Israel acts to limit Iranian influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Netanyahu lacks the suppleness to steer Israel into the future. The question is if the opposition – led by Benny Gantz – is offering something fundamentally different. Kachol Lavan’s policy platform has been hazy, resembling more a blank canvass for the desires of a wide range of “Anyone But Bibi” voters than a real alternative to the right bloc’s ambitions. It has also made nods toward annexation, which have been partially contradicted by other statements, and are ultimately  empty gestures. Nevertheless, such talk creates the misleading picture of an entire country clamoring for a revanchist policy and deprives the opposition of a credible stance against annexation in coalition negotiations.

I don’t think Israel can afford another term of Netanyahu. An alternative- even if it means leading a unity government with Likud – could be a breath of fresh air for the country. But the opposition will need to stop painting itself into the right corner on policy and recognize Netanyahu’s gaping vulnerability: he is only in it for himself now.