The police, both here and in many (most? all?) other countries in the world, provide a short “emergency” phone number. The idea being that it will be easy to remember, work from all phones in all locations, and be fast to dial in case of a real emergency.
The police here in Israel also has such a number, 100.
Except, it would seem, sometimes they just don’t bother answering it.
Last Sunday (28 September 2008) I went with a friend to a restaurant in the Tel-Aviv north harbour area. On the way back to the car (around 22:45) we noticed a large group of kids around two bonfires which they started along the beach. About 5 meters from there stands a large sign with warnings about prohibited activities, and starting fires is explicitly listed there.
Normally I wouldn’t exactly mind, but those kids were loud and annoying; and those fires were quite large, with one of them burning really close to nearby plants. Plus, I was in a, ahem, fitting mood. So I decided to do my civic duty, and call the police to report the fires and the kids.
I dialled 100 on my cellphone. And waited. One ring, two ring, three rings, four rings, nothing. At this point most automatic answering machines would assume nobody’s answering, and pick up. But this is an a police centre that should be manned non-stop around the clock, so I guess they don’t have answering machines. I waited a bit more (1-2 rings) and still nothing. I was very surprised, and hang up.
My friend was also amazed that nobody picked up the phone. So he tried calling them himself, from his own cellphone. He waited for 13 rings. Nothing. Nobody answered.
Nobody tried to call us back to follow up later on, asking if there’s a problem and why we called the emergency police number. None of our cellphone numbers are blocked, so they could have seen these calls on their incoming call logs (if they bother keeping them).
Good things that it, while being something that should be reported to the police, wasn’t really an emergency.---