Toyota Whistleblower Tells It All

The story of Betsy Benjaminson, a translator from Sderot who put everything on the line when she decided to take on Toyota.

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Betsy Benjaminson.
Betsy Benjaminson.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

The American-born Japanese-to-English translator made Aliyah more than a decade ago. But it was only after she was hired by Toyota's defense law firm in 2010 and gained access to thousands of classified documents, that Betsy Benjaminson breached her veil of anonymity.

The giant car manufacturer was in the midst of a legal and public relations crisis at the time, having issued a massive recall of millions of vehicles due to recurrent reports of uncontrolled acceleration, some of which resulted in fatalities. The corporation blamed this on floor mats, mechanical problems and driver error - not internal electronics - but the U.S. Congress and government agencies ordered an investigation.

In the course of her work for Toyota, Benjaminson noticed discrepancies between corporate correspondence and the technical manuals, and became persuaded that the company was concealing the truth about what was causing the acceleration defects. After receiving legal advice from a law firm, Benjaminson began to leak the information to the media, and was thrust into the limelight. This is her story.

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