SHIPPING: Israeli Odd Couple

In the late 1940s, Mila Brener and Ya'acov Meridor would have seemed the least likely candidates imaginable for the job of rescuing the sinking British shipbuilding industry. Both men were then Zionists fighting British forces in Palestine—the Russian-born Brener as skipper of a blockade-busting refugee ship, the Polish-born Meridor as deputy commander of the bomb-wielding Irgun underground and sometime inmate of British prison camps in Kenya and Eritrea. But last week, Brener and Meridor's little-known Haifa-based firm, Maritime Fruit Carriers, completed placement of roughly $700 million in orders and options for 26 ships—the largest transaction from a single customer...

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