The staged abduction of 22 year-old Niv Assaraf has galvanized MKs into action, with MK Nissan Slomianksy (Jewish Home) proposing a bill to enact fines for prank calling the police.
"The surreal events [...] prove once again the need for effective promotion of legislation that I initiated," Slomiansky stated Friday, according to Maariv. "Under this proposal, false calls to emergency help centers and hotlines, such as those for police, Magen David Adom, or Fire and Rescue will be considered a criminal offense punishable with a fine of 14,400 shekels [about $3675 - ed.]." Calls which force police or the IDF to conduct false searches would be punishable with a fine of 73,500 shekels ($18,755).
Slomiansky had proposed the bill in November 2014, and it had passed a preliminary reading; the ratification process is set to continue during the 20th Knesset.
The call to resurrect the bill follows the exploits of Assaraf and accomplice Eran Nagauker.
Nagauker called the Moked 100 police hotline to report Assaraf missing on Thursday, claiming he had entered the hostile Arab village of Beit Anoun to get spare parts due to a flat tire. The call prompted a mass IDF search that cost hundreds of thousands of shekels; Assaraf was later found alive and safe, hiding in a ditch. Nagauker is due to be dishonorably discharged from the IDF; Assaraf was indicted last week for his actions in the Jerusalem Magistrates Court and is in police custody until Monday.
Prank calls have also been proven damaging in real-life terror attacks.
In June 2014, the Moked 100 hotline was revealed to have ignored the initial calls from abducted Israeli teenagers Gilad Sha'ar (16), Eyal Yifrah (19), and Naftali Frankel (16) after they managed to call the hotline and report their own abduction, thinking it was a prank. The teens were murdered shortly thereafter.
Moreover, the prank calls can cost the state thousands of shekels and distract the IDF.
Several weeks ago, a 27 year-old Palestinian Arab man was arrested for prank calling the police for weeks and providing false information about "escalation" in Judea-Samaria.