Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his appreciation on Sunday for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s signing of a presidential decree ordering the return of an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Magach tank that was captured in 1982 during the First Lebanon War.
Netanyahu thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for responding to his request to give Israel the tank, which was transferred from Syria to Russia.
All in all, over 20 Israeli soldiers were killed and eight tanks were lost in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub.
“Hearing about the tank’s return sends me back 34 years,” Ben-Dahan said. “It gave me chills.”
Ben-Dahan also expressed hope that the tank’s return might also bring with it news about the fate of the missing soldiers, though he said he cannot comment on any discussions or progress toward that goal.
News of the tank’s return comes ahead of Netanyahu’s scheduled visit to Moscow in two weeks and as ties between Israel and Russia are growing.
It will be the prime minister’s second trip to Russia in less than three months. Following his visit in April, Netanyahu said that he had spoken with Putin about increasing and improving security coordination regarding the ongoing Syrian civil war and Russian operations there.
Magach designation refers to a series of tanks in Israeli service. The tanks are based on the American M48 and M60 Patton tanks. Magach 1, 2, 3 and 5 are based upon M48 tanks; Magach 6 and 7 are based upon M60 tanks.