Over the weekend, 61 of 120 members of Knesset (all of Kachol Lavan, the Joint List, Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, Labor, and Meretz; Gesher’s Orly Levy-Abekasis abstained) recommended to President Reuven Rivlin that Benny Gantz be tasked with forming a government. This means that Gantz will get the first shot at building a coalition. But there is still no winner in Israel’s third election.

Even after this weekend, the Netanyahu bloc still has advantages over Gantz’s backers. For one, the ideological glue binding the prime minister’s supporters is stronger. Netanyahu fields an alliance of right-wing nationalists and religious politicians. The secular nationalists, moderate right-wingers, centrists, Zionist leftists, communists, Islamists, and pan-Arabists who handed Gantz the mandate may all agree today that the incumbent prime minister is bad news, but there is little to suggest that Ayman Odeh and Avigdor Liberman will continue to find themselves on the same side once Netanyahu is booted from Balfour Street.

This assessment also hinges on Gantz successfully pulling together a coalition, something that is hardly a given even with 61 recommendations. Earlier today, Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein presided over an awkward swearing in ceremony as newly elected parliamentarians entered the chamber in groups of three, a stark reminder that the specter of the coronavirus looms over everything. Gantz faces immense pressure to enter into a unity government in order to confront the ongoing pandemic.

The global crisis is a legitimate and compelling basis for putting politics aside. There is an equally legitimate and compelling case to be made that an emergency government is a bid by an indicted prime minister and his allies to consolidate power in a moment of uncertainty. Indeed, Netanyahu demonstrated last week that his appeal for national unity means unity for Israeli Jews, not Arabs; the prime minister doubled down on this position even after Gantz expressed tepid interest in an emergency coalition provided all parties, including the Joint List, were invited.

If Gantz successfully forms a minority government composed of Kachol Lavan, Labor, Meretz, and Yisrael Beiteinu, with Joint List support from the opposition benches, he may finally unseat Netanyahu. But that road is fraught with challenges.

After the Joint List recommended Gantz for prime minister, relatives of terror victims staged a small protest outside President Rivlin’s residence targeted at Kachol Lavan and Yisrael Beiteinu. Haaretz reports that the demonstrations took place with Likud support, a claim the families deny. Whatever the case, the sensitivity around the Joint List’s role, a product of both right-wing race-baiting and real concerns about controversial statements by some of the faction’s members, shows that the pro-Bibi right can continue to be a disruptive political force even when on the defensive. Kachol Lavan MKs Zvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel are sticking to their opposition to a Joint List-backed coalition, despite joining their colleagues in recommending Gantz as prime minister. Unless a deal can be reached with the two dissident deputies, Gantz will be two seats short of a majority.

And pushing out Netanyahu amid the coronavirus crisis could carry negative consequences down the line. Despite the prime minister’s indictments, charges by now well known to all Israelis, his handling of the pandemic enjoys widespread support from the public. Critics may look at how Gantz navigates the current situation as a test of his commitment to mamlachtiut (literally translating to “statism,” but meaning something closer to a statesmanlike approach), something the Kachol Lavan leader has made a centerpiece of a platform that is, perhaps by design, light on actual policy positions.

But if Gantz joins Netanyahu in an emergency government, he may also face adverse consequences down the line. It is difficult to consider now, but coronavirus will pass. When it does, many of the old issues will return to center stage. Gantz may calculate that a unity government is necessary now, but that may burn bridges with the Joint List and Israeli Arab voters down the line. In choosing unity now, Gantz may also miss an opportunity to oust Netanyahu with the political stars in rare alignment. After a fourth election, the Joint List or Avigdor Liberman could retract their endorsement of Gantz. Labor or Meretz could slip under the electoral threshold or shrink even further.

Since March’s Knesset election, Israeli politics have been subject to a pendulum swing as the advantage shifts from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Kachol Lavan chief Benny Gantz and back again. Right now, Gantz is operating from a position of relative strength. However, if the past two weeks are instructive, that could change very quickly. And coronavirus will only make things more complicated.