Any election in any country is mostly about domestic issues one way or another.
Or at the least they're a benchmark of the nationalist-like fervor people 'feel' about those domestic issues. This is why American presidents like to focus on foreign affairs their second term. They don't have to work with Congress and don't particularly care whether they're successful or not - excepting the obligatory 'I fixed the palestinians' thing for their own glorification and legacy. This I suspect is true in Israel's squirrely electoral political system as well - even though nationally they don't operate with local issues in mind. It's still domestic. It's still about taxes and income, housing, grocery shelves, the price of gas, paving the streets. It's still about sticking it to your domestic political foes. It's still about parochial interests and issues from farm costs to air pollution and trees to gay rights and everything in between.
This is why Obama and the NYT completely miss the mark. Having sucked down a barrel full of Messiah Man Kool Aid they genuinely believe that electing anyone but Netanyahu means that unicorns and sunshine will fly out of their ass and the people of Israel will all convert to Islam and welcome in all 7 million 'palestinian refugees' where they can all have a mass same sex wedding, worship the sun and smoke weed.
Not going to happen. Sorry but you were misinformed. There is no "Great Man Theory" except in their own heads. There is no far far far left Israeli Nelson Mandella Obama Christ the Second. And even there was, even if somehow Israelis elected a lesbian illegal Mexican immigrant Hamas terrorist to lead them, all indications that Israelis, having shown the US EVERY SINGLE faction of every single political agenda from Communist to the far right over the last 60 years and the response from the US has been the same - - 'you guys aren't conciliatory enough!' would not be in any better position with the US anyhow. Because accepting that Israel doesn't exist to do the US's bidding simply never enters the political discussion in the US. Even the most accepting US administrations, from Truman to W has backed Israel, semi-reluctantly but only when they had to. Truman did it for anticommunist reasons. Ike didn't support Israel and threatened to attack in 1956. JFK wasn't interesting the mideast at all. Johnson stayed on the sidelines in 1967 albeit he allowed his UN ambassador to backstop Res242 with ambiguous wording. Nixon outwardly disliked Israel and only sent arms to them when Kissinger told him they might go nuclear. Ford was a non issue, Carter hates the Jews. Reagan secretly held court with the Iranians, Bush 1 is in bed with the Saudis and Clinton is more pro 'palestinian' than the Europeans. W rhetorically backed Israel but his actual accomplishments say the reverse. And now we have President Muslim Brotherhood Obama. And again, from 1948 to today Israelis have managed to elect leaders from near communists to near fascists and the response from the US has always been the same lukewarm relationship.
Allow me to show you my best Capt. Renault impression and tell you how shocked, shocked I am, at the goings on here.
But to my point; people vote on domestic and local issues. There's only a few at the fringes who don't. And they don't count for very much. So if they elect the somewhat ironically named "Zionist Party" they're generally electing someone on a domestic slate of promises (and the general tendency to be sick of ANY incumbent after 6 years). They're voting on the basket of services covered under the national health plan. They're voting on the byzantine nightmare of income and real estate taxes and the insane complexity of mortgage financing. They're voting on the allotment of public services that either benefit them or benefit they people they don't like. They're voting on how many children are stuffed into each classroom.
Obama as in most things, believes Israelis are voting for him, or least are thinking about him very much. He needs them to think of him and appreciate him or, as is his due, he must punish his subjects for their disloyalty should they fail to demonstrate sufficient obsequiousness. And that's where his blind spot is. Because Israelis may very well vote out Netanyahu and then turn around and ignore whatever it is Obama thinks he can demand of them as a reward for 'rescuing' them from the clutches of Likud. If only he understood they don't care about Obama almost as much as they don't like him it would be better for everyone.