Henry Ford II took over the automotive company of his grandfather and namesake company in 1945, but he did not inherit his grandfather’s vicious anti-Semitism. While the elder Ford notoriously used his wealth and influence to disseminate anti-Jewish propaganda, and collaborated with Nazi Germany, the younger Ford explicitly rejected those attitudes and was an enthusiastic supporter of the Jewish state. Zack Rothbart writes:
Shortly after Israeli independence, Hank the Deuce, [as Ford II was informally known], oversaw a trade deal that would see a major shipment of automotive parts to help alleviate the young state’s transportation crisis. The next year, he personally presented Israel’s first president with a Ford Lincoln Cosmopolitan. . . . A $50,000 contribution from Ford in 1950 made him the top donor to the United Jewish Appeal’s first ever Christian Committee Campaign for Israel.
Around the time of the Six-Day War in 1967, Hank the Deuce nonchalantly gave his good friend, the Jewish businessman and philanthropist Max Fisher, a warm personal note with a $100,000 check inside for the Israel Emergency Fund.
Not long after, he fulfilled his promise to have a Ford assembly plant in Israel and maintain business dealings with the Jewish state, refusing to give in to boycott threats despite extensive and lucrative interests across the Arab world. The Arab boycott took effect and cars began rolling out of the plant in Nazareth, at which point he reportedly said, “Nobody’s gonna tell me what to do.”