MK Evades Campaign, Forwards Calls to Netanyahu

MK Eitan Cabel gets back at Israel Hayom for launching phone-in campaign against him, has the calls forwarded to Prime Minister's Office.

Ben Ariel ,

MK Eitan Cabel
MK Eitan Cabel
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The Israel Hayom newspaper on Tuesday urged its readers to phone and e-mail the office of MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) in mass numbers, and voice their displeasure over the bill he authored and which would limit the distribution of free newspapers, such as Israel Hayom.

The bill, first proposed in March, is scheduled to come to a vote before the Knesset on Wednesday.

Cabel, however, fought back against the newspaper’s campaign - by having the phone calls forwarded to the Prime Minister’s Office. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is a close friend of Israel Hayom owner and publisher Sheldon Adelson.

According to Walla! News, in the afternoon hours, Netanyahu’s office became fed up with the flood of phone calls and sent a Knesset technician to Cabel’s office so that he would cancel the call forwarding.

Cabel’s office said in response: “Israel Hayom should get a taste of its medicine and explain to Bibi why he could not work today."

Cabel later boasted of the prank on his Facebook page, and wrote, “Bibi and Sheldon, this is what happens to someone who angers my assistant, Reut.”

“This morning, Israel Hayom published the phone number of my office, and asked readers to call in droves. So Reut asked for permission and forwarded the Bibi's office! In any case, every minute that they do not work over there they cause less damage to Israeli society,” continued Cabel.

“In the afternoon a Knesset worker knocked on the door, sent by the Prime Minister's Office to disconnect the call forwarding. So we offered him coffee and sent him on his way,” wrote Cabel.

He concluded his post by writing, “I just hope they also have [Netanyahu’s] cell phone, because we understand that the workers in his office became fed up and stopped answering the phone...”

Under Cabel’s bill, which was co-authored by MKs from the coalition, every newspaper which is defined as one of the four daily newspapers most widely circulated in Israel will be sold at a "nominal value" - about 70% of the price of the cheapest and most popular newspaper.

In addition, the bill would ban distributing free newspapers for more than a six-month period - and require the price of each paper to be printed prominently on the front page.

The bill’s authors decided to bypass the Ministerial Committee on Legislation by having the bill come up for a vote at the Knesset plenum. However, it is unknown if it will pass.