Mina Zemach, Israel's "state surveyor" will not take part in the exit polls next month, and for the first time in many years she will watch the results from her living room.
In an interview with Yediot Aharonot, Zemach explained the exit polls' complete failure in April's elections to predict the actual results, blaming Likud voters for "lying."
"We had 60 exit polls in our survey, and in all of them the predictions were accurate for Labor, Shas, UTJ, the New Right. There was only one problem: Too many votes for Blue and White and a lack of votes for the Likud. When we saw that, we became angry. Likud voters simply lied to us, putting a Blue and White voting slip into the sample box," she said.
Zemach and her partner at the Midgam Research Institute, Meno Geva, had not even thought that some of the participants would fool them.
"It seems everyone knew about the trickery except for us. We acted so stupidly. When [Mako's] Niv Raskin asked me before the elections if there would be trickery, I told him he could erase that question, I don't want to put ideas in people's heads," Zemach said. "On the night of the elections, I brought my secretary back to Bnei Brak at 3 in the morning. Two young men came up to me and said, 'Mina, you didn't read on social media that people are going to fool you?' I think we didn't want to know.
"It was our fault that we did not prepare for tricks. The whole time I said, 'They're not going to trick us, no one tricks.' I ran away from it psychologically. That was my issue and Meno's The fact that we did not prepare for tricks was a real failure."
When asked what Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's secret to success is, Zemach said: "He understands situations and he knows how to present them to the media. He sends messages in the way he talks, even in the way he blinks. He's had that from birth. He doesn't need to learn, unlike [late President Shimon] Peres, who they told when to raise his hand and lower his hand when he spoke. Bibi is a great speaker. He's amazing at presentations. Just like [former Prime Minister] Menachem Begin entranced the public and excited them. And what about [former US President] Bill Clinton? Even his wife had more to offer. But the warmth emanating from him entranced everyone. I can't say that Bibi emanates warmth, but he does know how to handle the media. It comes naturally to him."
Regarding the state of Israel's democracy, Zemach said: "That's a question that really worries me. If the government continues with its personal laws, and if Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz (United Right) wants to annex settlements, then yes there is what to worry about. The problem is that a lot of people don't understand that democracy is not just the rule of the majority."
"In '81 I conducted a survey for the Van Leer Institute regarding questions relating to democracy. We were sure that we were the most democratic nation in the world, and it turned out that we don't understand the practical applications of democracy, such as freedom of speech and protection of minority rights, and that there are different democratic rules within and outside of the Green Line."