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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 14, 2012 By Jason Miller WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (JTA)--It's no se- cret that Henry Fordwas anotorious anti-Semite, and his company's dealings with the Nazi Party during the Holocaust are well documented. But the company's story has changed drastically in recent years. The Ford family's donation Qfa rare 500-year- old Torah scroll to a suburban Detroit synagogue and the appointment of a Jewish chief operating officer demonstrate a marked shift in the com- pany's narrative when it comes to the Jewish community. The shift really began in the late 1940s when Ford's grandson Henry Ford II took over the com- pany and began hiring minorities, but it would take many more decades before Jewish executives were hired as officers. Mervyn Manning became the first Jewish officer of Ford when he became vice president in 1977. During those years, Ford II already had started a period of repentance through action as the friend of such notable Jewish philanthropists as Max Fisher, making significant charitable gifts to the then-United Jewish Appeal. Today in Detroit, the Ford Motor Co. and the billionaire family are regularly seen as major contributors to the Jewish federation and the Jewish community center. Members of the Ford family and top executives at the company have been honored by local Jewish groups. And in 1999, Benson Ford Jr., a great-grandson of the auto tycoon, purchased the 500-year-old scroll and donated it to Temple Shir Shalom in West Bloomfield. The Torah was written in hid- ing between 1492 and 1560 in Spain or Portugal, where itwas illegal to practice Judaism at the ti me. a stint as the CEO of Ford-controlled Mazda, In early November, Bill Ford, the executive chairman and great-grandson of Henry Ford, announced the appointment of Fields--one that makes him the heir apparent for the CEO post when Alan Mulally retires in 2014 or earlier. Fields, the descendant of Russian and Roma- nian Jews, became abar mitzvahataConservative synagogue in Paramus, N.J., and received matzah and Chanukah candles from his parents no mat- ter where in the world he was working for Ford. A graduate of Rutgers University and the Harvard Business School, where he earned a master's degree in business, Fields maintains that he has never encountered any discrimination or anti-Semitism at Ford. The latest chapterinthe longhistory of Fordand the Jews began Dec. 1, when Mark Fields effectively By Seth Lipsky began running the 109-year-old intemational auto firm. Fields, 51, has been lauded for his intel- ligence, skill and dedication to the company. He has worked all over the~world for Ford, including shelling of the Altalena, though, touches most of the bases. (Jewish Ideas Daily)---About Menachem What is so exciting about this period-in Begin the thing that I remember most was Begin's life is the way in which his defeat and the way he talked. Begin wouldn't say that he isolation in the post-revolt years and his display wasbornontheeveoftheFirstWorldWar;he'd of character during his decades in opposition say, as he did when a group of us from the Wall became the seeds of his ultimate credibility. Street Journal interviewed him in 1981, that he Rarely has victory been sweeter than the one was born "into" the First World War. enjoyed by Menachem Begin. Begin's f~stidiousness about the language All the more bitter his despair at the end. of leadership, his temptation to vainglory, and The peacemaking felt good while he was do- his unalloyed heroism are all captured in Avi ing it. Begin seemed to savor every hosanna Shilon's new biography, "Menachem Begin: A from the left; he went to Oslo to accept the Life," published by Yale. It is the most detailed 1978 Nobel Peace Prize even though President narrative yet of the man who became the sixth Sadat declined. The peace was followed by the prime minister of Israel and led the Jewishstate settling of the liberated territories, a process ontotheroadthatiscausingsuchconsternation in which Shilon portrays Begin as a centrist among the desiccated left today. For those of us tilting slightly to the right, ground then held who came to love Begin, the book's welcome by Ariel Sharon. reprise comes just as his political heirs, in a This was also the period in whida economic new hour of peril from Iran, are being tested reforms were launched. It was under Begin against the example he set. .that the Nobel laureate Milton Friedman was Shiionwrites at the outset that some experts brought in as an adviser. This period, no doubt, have argued that Begin suffered from manic saw the formation of the strategy that has led depression, butannouncesthathehas"resisted to the atrophy of Labor arid the dominance such speculation," preferring Begin's deeds to of Likud. "any psychological analysis." It's a sage strategy The 1981 bombing of the Iraq nuclear reactor for telling the life of a man who so clearly lived is relatedinachapter dealingwithBegin'slarger for a cause greater than himself, world view. While editing an announcement of It is certainly a life that offers more drama the bombing mission's success, Shiloh says, than could be cooked up by even the most Begin changed a draft to add, at the end, "We perfervid psychiatrists. Begin's mother was shallnotallowourenemiestodevelopweapons murdered by the Nazis in a hospital at Brisk. of mass destructionagainstourpeople."Writes His father, a Zionist, and his brother, Herzl, Shilon,"Thisdeclarationbecameknownasthe were also slain by the Nazis. Arrested by the BeginDoctrine, accordingtowhichlsraelwould NKVD in 1940, Begin was sentenced to seven not allow any Arab nation to acquire nuclear years in the Soviet camps. He was in Tashkent arms."Was that formulation, one could puzzle, when he learned that his family, save for his intended to exclude the Persians? sister Rachel, had perished. The story of the 1982 Lebanon war is told Begin, inanyevent, rose quickly through the here in a straightforward way, as is Begin's 13etar youth movement. After he met--and fell precipitous slide and resignation from office in behind--the Revisiorvist prophet Vladimir afterthedeathofhiswife.AlizadiedwhileBegin Jabotinsky, Begin felt, as Shilon puts it, iike was in America. His collapse from public life "Stalin in the power triangle" along with Marx followed quickly. and Lenin, except that Theodor Herzlwas Marx Begin said he wanted to write a book called and Jabotinsky Lenin. "The GenerationofHolocaustand Redemption." Thestoryoftheyearsoftherevoltagainstthe How sad that he died too soon. It can be said, British is well told here, though the narrative of with no slight to the author of this brimming the 1944 assassination of Lord Moyne contains biography, that in Jewish libraries there will no mention of his role in Britain's refusal to always be the void where Menachem Begin's allow the sailing to Palestine of the refugee memoir might have stood. ship Struma, which was then sunk by the Rus- Seth Lipsky, a former foreign editor of sians, killing 768 persons. The assassination of the Wall Street Journal, is editor of the New U.N.mediatorCountFolkeBernadottein1948 York Sun. This article was first published by is related with but a glimpse of the mischief Jewish ldeasDaily (wwwjewishideasdaily.com) the count was concocting. The account of the and is reprinted with permission. THE VIEWS EXI~RESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. ~ ~ CENTRAL FLORIDA'S ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 41 Press Awards INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE ~ ~ Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Stare Mike Etzkin Kim Fischer . EWISH NEWS Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser Richard Ries Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky Tim Boxer David Bomstein Terri Fine Ed Ziegler Production ~ent David Lehman David Gaudio Teri Marks Elaine Schooping Gil Dombrosky Caroline Pope HERITAGE Florida Jewish News ( ISN 0199-0721 ) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the restofthe U.S.) by HERITAGE . Central Florida Jewish News, Inc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 email: news@orlandoheritage.com Bill Ford, making the announcement of Fields' promotion, said, "The growth we've seen in him has been remarkable." While some might say that the anti-Semitic founder of Ford is likely rolling over in his grave as a Jewish man takes the reins of his historic company, the changes in the company have been happening forsome time. Historybookswillnote Henry Ford's discriminatory writings and prac- tices, as well as the company's ties to the Nazis during the Holocaust, but the Ford Motor Co. of the 21st century has continued the redemption process started by its founder's scions. Rabbi Jason Miller is a blogger, educator and entrepreneur. He blogs at htlp://blog.rabbijason. corn and is on Twitter at @RabbiJason. Letter from Israel Nastiness at the top By Ira Sharkansky A considerable portion of the world is being nasty to Israel. The list of governments inviting the Israeli ambassador in their capital city to the halls of their foreign ministry for a drubbing includes virtually all of the European worthies, alongwith Australia and Brazil. The list may be longer by the time this note reaches you. The deluge of denunciations is formally directed at Israel's declaration to build 3,000 housing units in what the world considers to be Palestinian territory, or at least open to negotia- tions with Palestinians. Especially sensitive is the area called E 1, where Israeli construction would complicate Palestinian connections between the north and south of the West Bank, and direct ac- cess to neighborhoods of Jerusalem which they claim as their capital. Israeli commentators chronically critical of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and politicians opposing Likud are piling on and accusing him of callous disregard of Israel's friends. While an action against Mahmoud Abbas' U.N. maneuver may have been appropriate, Netanyahu blew away whatever support he might have enjoyed--as well as the support he earned on account of his conductofamini-warin Gaza--bythemagnitude of his response and its direct challenge to the conventional wisdom about a Palestinian state. Also in the background, and perhaps a major source of the animosity appears in comment~ made by Rahm Emanuel. He told a gathering that included American and Israeli elites--presum- ably not for publication but sure to be leaked=- thatNetanyahu had erred severely in his relations with President Barack Obama. Not only did he bet on the wrong horse in the American elec- tion campaign, but earlier he had insulted the President and broke the well=established rules of protocol by improper behavior in the Oval Office. The message was clear. It was payback time less than two months before an Israeli election. It was not difficult to break the dam of inter- national restraint. Few if any Western leaders seem to enjoy their encounters with Benyamin Netanyahu. Some of their comments--whether intentionally or not--got into the public arena. Most famous was an interchange between Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy, with each claiming to suffer from their need to deal with the Israeli Prime Minister. There is no end of the speculation about the intentions of the Israeli Prime Minister, or the real source of denunciations concerned with his retaliatory building plans. Does the Prime Minister really intend to build in El? Did he ever intend to send 70,0.00 troops into Gaza? Did he ever intend to attack Iran's nuclear facili- ties, or were his threats meant only to increase Western sanctions against Iran? Do foreign governments object to Israel build- ing in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem as much as they object to El? Is the campaign ostensibly against Israeli construction actually a vendetta against an excessively impolitic Prime Minister, triggered by a campaign engineered by the White House retaliating for Netanyahu's support of Obama's opponent?" Confusing for any simple view of recent events is the cooperation between Netanyahu, Obama, and major European governments during the IDF's operation against Gaza. And although few governments voted against the Palestinians' U.N. gambit, many of them had sought to convince the Palestinians to avoid the action. Just as we hear about animosity toward Netan- yahu, we hear a different kind of criticism--but no less extreme--about the Palest'mian regime of the West Bank. Unlike criticism focused narrowly on Netanyahu, that against the Palestinian leadership is collective. Alongwith the Conventional wisdom about a two-state solution are comments conced- ing that West Bank leaders are old, unimaginative, corrupt, unable to depart from a list of demands bound to lose, and stubbornly rejecting the pos- sibility of negotiations. Abbas' principal rivals remain on the world's list of terrorist organiza- tions. Rockets aimed at Israeli civilians come in for harsher condemnation than decisions to advance planning for construction in E 1. We remain with the classic lack of certainty as towhether intemational relations reflectnational interests, or personal relations between the elites of different governments. It is hard to discount national interests as the major element, but it is equally hard to discount entirely personal relationships that might help governments over the bumps inherent in competing economies and geopolitical aspirations, and the maintenance of rival alliances, Also in the air is the doubtful wisdom of med- dling in someone else's politics. No matter how much Bibi indicated his endorsement of Mitt Romney by means of words or body language, and no matter how much their mutual backer SheldonAdelson invested in the campaign, Rom- ney did not come close. Obama's margins of 332 vs 206 electoral votes and about 51 percent of the popular vote were about mid-way in the record of presidential elections since the end of World War II. If Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, et. al. are thinking of revenge, they have their work cut Out for them. Current projections see the world's political elites having to endure more years of Benjam!n Netanyahu at the head of the Israeli government. Likely to be more important on election day are what is happening in Israeli politics. More than 40 parties have registered for the election. Within the list of the dozen or so that are realistic candidates for the Knesset, there continues the strained efforts 6f three centrist-leftist parties to distinguish themselves one from the other, a verbal civil war at the summit of the Labor party, and Avigdor Lieberman behaving like a Russian autocrat in the manner in which he has passed out rewards and punishments while personally ranking candidates on his party's joint list with Likud. Once the campaign reaches the nightly run- ning of party TV advertisements in the time slots paid for by government funds, this week's international condemnations will be a month or so in history. And insofar as international condemnations of Netanyahu's actions come alongwith endorse- ment of Palestinian aspirations, they limit their drawing power with the Israeli population. Europeans andAmericans may think of a Pal- estinian state as essential for peace in the Middle East. Israelis have trouble separating that link- age from a comic opera image of the West Bank regime, rockets falling on their cities, Palestinians who would flood Israel with the descendants of refugees, Palestinian claims of victory in Gaza, and their frequent mention of 1967 borders. Ira Sharkanslaj is professor emeritus, Depart- ment of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He may be reached at irashark@ gmail.com.