Labor chairperson Yitzhak Herzog on Thursday tried to explain the failure of his Zionist Union joint list with Tzipi Livni's Hatnua to defeat Likud, after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's party outpaced Labor by 30 to 24 mandates.
With the ending of voting on Tuesday night at 10 p.m., exit polls were released showing a 27 mandate tie between the two parties, but the following morning actual counts of the polls painted a much less rosy picture for Labor, with a final counting revealing a six seat gap.
"I act with level-headedness in situations like these," Herzog told Channel 10 in speaking about the night of the elections. "I went to sleep at 2 a.m. I told Michal 'we'll get up at 6:30 a.m., we'll hear the headlines.'"
"At 6:30 a.m. there weren't dramatic headlines and we wanted to continue sleeping. I told her 'wake me up at ten to seven,'" he recalled. "At ten to seven an SMS from Tzipi (Livni) arrived, something very sad sounding. So I turned on the TV and it was written: Netanyahu this much, and me, this much (mandates). I told Michal 'listen, something dramatic happened last night.'"
Herzog spoke about the mistakes in his campaign, first off blaming the "flood of polls and expectations and situation reports saying that we were leading Netanyahu so that I would be able to form a government."
"I didn't get pompous, but there was a feeling in the camp and the possibility that Netanyahu would reinvent himself in two-and-a-half days, like he knows how to do, wasn't taken into consideration," concluded Netanyahu.
The statement on "reinvention" refers to Netanyahu's statements indicating that he would not allow a Palestinian state to be formed, which he has quickly distanced himself from.
Herzog's blaming the loss on a mistaken sense of security from polls follows comments he made earlier on Thursday, in which he blamed Yair Garbuz, the leftist artist who said before elections that Israel was under the control of a cabal of “swindlers, molesters, and mezuzah kissers," for causing the loss.