Yuval Neria, an Israeli war veteran, on Thursday was reunited with a tank like the one he rode in during the 1973 Yom Kippur war 43 years ago.
The tank, a 45-ton Israeli Magach 3, is on display at the Museum of American Armor at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, where Neria visited with his son Oren, 28, and daughter Michal, 30.
“I got to see the tank, in and out. Even drive it,” Neria said. “It was very exciting.”
On Oct. 6, 1973, the day of Yom Kippur, then-21-year-old Neria suffered serious injuries following a surprise attack by Egyptian forces along the northern section of the Suez Canal. As one of few survivors from his unit, Neria was honored with the Israeli Medal of Valor for bravery in combat.
Recovering from his injuries, Neria, who is now 64, began to study psychology and became involved in efforts to improve policies on mental health and post-traumatic stress for returning war veterans in Israel as well as former prisoners of war.
Following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Neria, who holds both U.S. and Israeli citizenship and lives in New York, was recruited by Columbia University as a PTSD expert to develop a robust research program. As a professor of medical psychology, Neria conducts studies with former prisoners of war, veterans, and victims of terrorism and disasters.
“The time as a soldier has really been a great progress,” Neria said, explaining his post-war path speaking up for veterans. “This is not only an interesting research area, but a moral commitment.”