CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - A volunteer policeman was dismissed after issuing a ticket to Israeli Finance Minister Roni Bar-On's driver, but police cite his talking to the press as the reason for dismissal.
On Thursday, Avidan Kalpa, a long-term volunteer with the traffic police, pulled over a car with a blue light traveling on the shoulder of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway.
An accident had backed up traffic on the main route between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Kalpa, in an unmarked vehicle, pulled the minister's car over.
"A security guard came out and told me Bar-On was in the car. He asked that they be allowed to continue immediately. I refused -- the minister is a civilian like everyone else -- and is not allowed to use the shoulder," said Kalpa.
"I suddenly received a call from Channel 2's crime correspondent, Moshe Nussbaum. I happen to be a reporter for the local Beit Shemesh newspaper and I have contact with senior correspondents," he said. "I told Moshe, 'I can't speak right now. I'm issuing a ticket to the finance minister,'" he said.
An hour later, Israeli TV broadcast the story. Within three days, following a brief hearing, the long-time volunteer was dismissed.
But Kalpa vowed to fight what he believes is a power struggle and injustice against the "little guy."
"I may have made a mistake telling Nussbaum that I pulled over Bar-On," he said, "but the fact that I was dismissed so quickly was only due to the police's desire to satisfy the minister," he said.
"It's easier to make me, the small guy who enforces the law, the fall guy," he said. "Police came under pressure and dismissed me," he said.
"I don't plan on taking this lying down," Kalpa said. "I have already appealed the decision and the Movement for Quality Government in Israel has shown an interest in this case," he said. "I will fight to return to the ranks of police volunteers."
"After years of faithful work, the police turned around and stabbed me in the back," Kalpa told Israel Radio.
But police site the media coverage as the reason for his dismissal.
"The volunteer was fired because he gave away inside information to the press," said traffic police spokesman Doron Ben Amo. "He acted in an excellent, professional manner when he pulled over the minister, and we are very happy with that aspect of his conduct. His dismissal has nothing to do with that," he said.
"The issue is that he gave information to a journalist, which was reported in the press after minutes. The press storm that continues merely reinforces our decision that he will not return to being a police volunteer," he said.
Ben Amo admitted that police would not be able to work without the 10,000 volunteers who assist them.
"We can't work without them," he said. "We very much respect them and view them as police officers. There may be a few blunders here and there, but in general, they're doing a great job," Ben Amo said.
Police volunteers are armed and have the same authority as a full-time police officer, he said.
Source: The Jerusalem Post