Irish soldier Mike is a hero to Israelis

MIKE FLANAGAN is considered a hero among Israelis.

The Irish-born soldier, from the small town of Foxford, County Mayo, helped form the Israel Defence Forces, and served in the 1948 War of Independence, the 1956 Sinai Campaign, the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

However, outside of the Jewish state, little is known about him — especially in his native Ireland.

But a fellow countryman is hoping to change that with the publication of a book.

Donal Buckley’s Sergeant Flanagan: Foxford and Israel tells the story of how Flanagan, who joined the British army to fight against Nazism, ended up being the founding father of the IDF’s armoured corps.

Donal, who also lives in County Mayo, said: “I’d heard whispers over the years about Mike Flanagan and thought I should do something about it. I make regular trips to Israel and, on my last visit, I went to Yad la-Siryon, the IDF armed corps museum in Latrun. I was taken to see the ‘Flanagan tanks’ and thought I must get all this down on paper.”

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