Mayo-born, British Army deserter and tank thief Mike Flanagan
On This Day In Irish History writes:
On this day 72 years ago – 29 June 1948 – Mike Flanagan of Foxford, County Mayo – a Sergeant in the British Army – stole two British tanks and delivered them to the Haganah.
Flanagan [who had participated in the liberation of the Nazi-operated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945] is said to have seen parallels between Jews fighting for a nation-state and the Irish 25 years earlier.
The tanks were hidden in Givatayim and later formed the basis of the Israeli Armored Corps.
Flanagan subsequently converted to Judaism, adopted the Hebrew name Michael Peleg, and married Ruth Levy, fellow soldier whom he had met on active service. They lived in Israel on Kibbutz Sha’ar HaAmakim.
He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Valor from The Wiesenthal Center in the United States.The Israeli Defense Forces honored Flanagan for his immense and critical contributions to the formulation of the IDF….