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Mike Flanagan (Hebrew: מייק פלנגן‎; May 15, 1926[citation needed] – January 26, 2014[1]) was an Irish soldier who assisted the formation of the Israeli armed forces.


Mike Flanagan, in front of a Cromwell Tank in Israel, 1948

He was born in Foxford, County Mayo[citation needed] Ireland. Flanagan served with the British Army during World War II, and participated in the liberation of the Nazi-operated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.[2]

Following the war, Flanagan was stationed in the British Mandate Palestine. Being sympathetic with the emerging (Jewish) nation of Israel, on 29 June 1948, Flanagan (along with his tank commander, Harry McDonald) stole two British Cromwell tanks and drove them to Israeli forces in Tel Aviv. These became central to the Israeli Armored Corps. Flanagan is considered one of the most famous deserters from the British Army in Palestine.[3]

Flanagan subsequently converted to Judaism, adopted the Hebrew name Michael Peleg, and married Ruth Levy, whom he had met on active service. They lived in Israel on Kibbutz Sha'ar HaAmakim.[4] After his retirement from the Haganah and the death of his wife he emigrated to Canada.[2]

He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Valor from The Wiesenthal Center in the United States.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. Michael Peleg, Notice of Death. Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel. Retrieved 2017-08-18.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Newman, Marissa. British deserter who stole tanks for Haganah dies, The Times of Israel, February 2, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
  3. Karpel, Dalia. The Irish rover, Haarets, December 17, 2010. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
  4. Cashman, Greer Fay. "Grapevine: Preserving unity". The Jerusalem Post. June 2, 2015.
  5. Daunt, Tina. "Wiesenthal Center, Hollywood Power Elite Honor Netflix's Ted Sarandos". The Hollywood Reporter. March 19, 2014.

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