There's a major problem with the emergency call-in hotline system in Judea and Samaria, said Yossi Dagan, head of the Judea and Samaria Council. Speaking Monday, Dagan revealed that calls made to the emergency number dedicated to residents of the region (reached when dialing 1208 on a cellphone) don't always get answered – and in fact, one out of three calls are basically “ignored.”
The technical issues plaguing the system have already resulted in long minutes during which seriously injured people, victims of terror attacks, remained untreated as officials tried to sort out locations and the nature of an attack and its consequences, he charged.
According to Dagan and members of the Council's security division, the problem stems from technical problems that are known to the IDF, which runs the hotline, but have not been dealt with for various reasons. Dagan said that “time after time we have contacted the relevant authorities, but unfortunately the response has been that they are 'working' on the problem. From my experience, repairing such issues should not require more than two months – not the two years that the army has been dealing with this.”
According to Dagan, the communication problems have “caused us to lose precious minutes in dealing with many critical security issues, in addition to the fear and suffering of victims of attacks in the field who are left waiting for assistance.” Dagan stressed that the hotline is often the source for information for the army, police, and other rescue services about issues in Judea and Samaria.
“Crossed lines” are one of the results of these “technical issues” - as occurred several months ago when Ayelet Shapira, the 11-year-old who was seriously injured by Arab terrorists, was attacked and awaiting help in December. The call placed by her father after the attack was routed not to the Samaria emergency hotline, but to the one serving the Binyamin region, over 20 kilometers further east. Respondents there sent out a rescue squad – to the town of Matan, which is in the region, instead of El Matan, the Samaria community where Shapira lived, and outside of which she was shot at when riding in car with ther father. “Precious moments were lost as the injured father and daughter remained in the field awaiting help that was late in coming – because of these 'technical issues,'” said Dagan.
The same thing happened in last month's attack on IDF soldiers near Shiloh, in the Binyamin region. The call reporting that attack was routed to the Samaria hotline, causing a delay in reaching and treating the injured IDF soldiers.
“We demand that the IDF repair these 'bugs' immediately,” said Dagan. “The negative effects of these problems are a major concern for soldiers and civilians alike. We expect, and demand, that the relevant parties in the IDF and the defense establishment make this a priority.”