Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bush grants pardon to hero of Israelis

WASHINGTON — In a gesture of forgiveness for an American considered a hero in Israel, President Bush granted a pardon posthumously on Tuesday to a man who broke the law to supply aircraft to Jews fighting in Israel's 1948 war for independence.

Charles Winters was listed in a batch of 19 pardons and one commutation that Bush issued before leaving for Camp David to spend the holidays. No high-profile lawbreakers were on the list.

In 1948, Winters, a non-Jewish Miami businessman who exported produce, worked with others to transfer two converted B-17 "Flying Fortresses" to Israel's defense forces. He flew one of the aircraft from Miami to Czechoslovakia, where that plane and a third B-17 were retrofitted for use as bombers.

The three B-17s were the only heavy bombers in the Israeli air force. Counterattacks with the bombers helped turn the war in Israel's favor, reports said. In March 1961, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir issued a letter of commendation to Winters to recognize his contributions to Israel's survival as an independent state.

Over the years, Winters, a Protestant from Boston who settled in the Miami area, told his family little of his conviction in 1949 for violating the Neutrality Act for conspiring to export aircraft to a foreign country. He was fined $5,000 and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Two others, Herman Greenspun and Al Schwimmer, were convicted of violating the act, but they did not serve time. President John F. Kennedy pardoned Greenspun in 1961. President Bill Clinton pardoned Schwimmer in 2000.

Winters died on Oct. 30, 1984, at the age of 71. At his request, a Christian cemetery near the Jewish cemetery of the Knights Templar in Jerusalem was made his final resting place.

Bush has granted 190 pardons and nine commutations, fewer than half as many as Clinton or President Ronald Reagan issued during their two terms. The latest batch includes forgiveness for convictions ranging from gun and drug violations to bank and mail fraud.

In addition to Winters, Bush granted pardons to two Floridians: Steve Doyle Cavender, 65, of the Villages on a 1973 marijuana conviction; and Richard Harold Miller of Tallahassee, conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Bush grants pardon to hero of Israelis 12/23/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 2:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Estuary wins pier design contest for the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway extension

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — And the winner is… Estuary.

    Voters overwhelmingly supported a pier design called Estuary for the $200-million extension of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway in Tampa.
[Courtesy of AECOM]
  2. What to watch and listen to this week: Halloween offerings, best spooky podcasts

    Blogs

    Halloween is all about scary stories. The holiday itself is based on a compilation of creepy tales from history going back thousands of years.

    The Halloween kids classic The Nightmare Before Christmas airs this week on Freeform.
  3. Fennelly: Would you take Jameis Winston over Cam Newton?

    Bucs

    Factoring out futures, it wouldn't be a short list if I picked NFL quarterbacks I'd take right now over Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) calls a play during the first half of Sunday's game. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Man faces charge of abuse after 2-month-old injured

    Crime

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 2-month-old child was taken to All Children's Hospital with multiple skull fractures Saturday afternoon, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, and a 24-year-old man has been arrested.

    Jacob Brattain, 24, of Zephyrhills is charged with aggravated child abuse and was arrested Sunday. According to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, a 2-month-old child suffered multiple skull fractures under his care.
  5. Amazon receives 238 proposals from places eager to become its 2nd headquarters

    Business

    NEW YORK — Amazon said Monday that it received 238 proposals from cities and regions in the United States, Canada and Mexico hoping to be the home of the company's second headquarters.

    Earlier this month, an Amazon employee gives her dog a biscuit as the pair head into a company building, where dogs are welcome, in Seattle. Amazon says it received 238 proposals from cities and regions hoping to be the home of the company's second headquarters. 
[AP Photo/Elaine Thompson]