Hotline Pranksters to Face Phone Sanctions

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Knesset is planning punitive action against the prank phone calls which clog emergency hotlines and interfere with police and rescue operations, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.

A bill approved by the Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee would give police the power to block a prankster’s phone for four days after the first time offense, and in the case of repeat offenders phone service could be permanently denied.

The bill, proposed by Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) and Zionist Camp MKs Omer Bar-Lev and Merav Michaeli, was inspired by the three teenage boys who were kidnapped in Gush Etzion in the summer of 2014. One of them called emergency services, and his call did not receive an immediate response.

Bar-Lev said “the horrifying recording in which Gil-Ad [Shaer] tried to turn to the police, but his call fell on deaf ears, was an event that cannot happen again.”

“Today, half of the calls to emergency hotlines are false alarms,” Bar-Lev added. “In order to allow security forces and the diplomatic level to do its work, every civilian must behave responsibly.”

“The need to disconnect a phone phone line of a serial pranked will allow emergency services to use most of their resources on real calls and save lives, unlike what happened when the three teens were kidnapped,” Slomiansky stated.

The bill will now go to the Knesset plenum for second and final readings.