Man busted after 5,170th call to 9-1-1
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Man busted after 5,170th call to 9-1-1

Police detain serial caller who caused emergency response hotline to collapse

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

A home phone (Illustrative photo credit: CC BY/tawalker via
A home phone (Illustrative photo credit: CC BY/tawalker via

Police arrested an apparent serial prank caller from Ashdod on suspicion of dialing Magen David Adom medical services thousands of times — with the overload crashing the organization’s automated emergency response system on one occasion.

According to the police, the man — whose identity wasn’t released — was suspected of dialing Israel’s national ambulance center 5,170 times during the past three months. The arrest was made after MDA officials filed a complaint and the organization’s phone records were examined, revealing the suspect’s identity.

“It was impossible,” an unnamed MDA source told Walla News Wednesday. “Every day he’d dial close to 200 times.” The official said the suspect called every day, including Saturdays and holidays. “Even on Yom Kippur he called the hotline multiple times.”

According to the official, the suspect “said rude things, cursed and offered offensive [and] inappropriate suggestions.”

Since his arrest, the organization told the news site, the rate of incoming calls to the hotline has returned to normal “and people in need can get through.”

“We understood he was causing serious trouble,” Chief Superintendent Noam Shekel, commander of the Ashdod police, said. Shekel refused to elaborate on the motives behind the suspect’s actions, and emphasized that the pointless calls hindered those in need from receiving medical attention.

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