An Israeli M48 tank – that crossed the Suez Canal with Ariel Sharon – has gone on public display at the Museum of American Armor in Long Island.
The tank, which is still operational, was built in the US in the late 1950's and was transferred to Jordan in the early 1960's as part of American military assistance to the Hashemite Kingdom.
During the Six-Day War, it was captured by IDF troops and was put in the service of the IDF's armored corps. In the midst of the `73 Yom Kippur War, IDF soldiers, led by then Commander of Division 143 Maj. Gen. Ariel Sharon, used the armored vehicle to cross the Suez Canal – which was then hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.
After the RPG disabled the tank, it was left on the Egyptian side of the Canal, where it was refurbished and sold to Jacques Littlefield, an American collector of military vehicles Jacques Littlefield. After he passed away, a Jewish philanthropist purchased the historical tank from Littlefield's heirs and placed it one of the world's most famous armor museums, so that it would tell Israel's story.
In recent days, the tank arrived to its destination in Long Island where it was welcomed at a dedication ceremony attended by members of Congress Democrat Steve Israel and Republican Peter King, Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni, members of the New York State Senate and IDF reserve soldiers who fought in Israel's wars.
"Specifically now, when the Middle East is going up in flames, we are placing an Israeli tank in an American museum,” Ambassador Aharoni said during the ceremony. "This is further testimony of the close ties shared by the two countries, and particularly by New York and Israel." He further stated that the American army and the IDF share common values.
Gary Lewi, a spokesman for the Museum of American Armor said that the tank tells the story of Israeli bravery under fire, and added that the tank was among the vehicles that saved the State of Israel during the days of the Yom Kippur War.