Irish soldier helped the Israeli Armored Corps and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Valor by The US Wiesenthal Center.
Mike Flanagan was an Irish soldier who helped to form the armed forces of Israel. Originally Mr. Flanagan is from Foxford, County Mayo Ireland. He served with the British Army and took part in the liberation of Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp during World War II.
After the war, Mike Flanagan joined the British Mandate of Palestine. He was very sympathetic and supporting with the newly forming Jewish nation in Israel. On 29 June 1948, Flanagan together with Harry McDonald, his tank commander, stole two British Cromwell tanks. They drove them to Israeli forces in Tel Aviv which gave strength to the Israeli Armored Corps. This move became essential in their development and consolidation. Today Mr. Flanagan is considered to be one of the most well-known deserters from the British Army in Palestine.
Mike Flanagan is also known as Mr. Peleg. That is because he made a strong decision in his personal life. He converted to Judaism and adopted the Hebrew name Mikhail Peleg. Shortly he married Ruth Levy, whom he had met on active service. A new family lived in Israel on Kibbutz Sha’ar HaAmakim but after his retirement from the Haganah and the death of his wife, he decided to emigrate to Canada.
Mikhail Peleg was posthumously awarded by The Wiesenthal Center in the United States with the Medal of Valor.