30,000 attend funeral for Los Angeles native killed in Gaza

Sharpshooter Max Steinberg was one of two American-Israeli soldiers to voluntarily serve in the IDF and die in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.

Max Steinberg, z"l (Family photo)

Max Steinberg, z”l (Family photo)

Some 30,000 people from across Israel came to the funeral of IDF soldier Sgt. Max Steinberg, even though most of them never met him. Steinberg, 24, was killed in action in Shejaiya, Gaza.

The Golani brigades’ sharpshooter grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Beersheva after he fell in love with Israel, following a Birthright trip here.

Steinberg was considered a lone soldier in the IDF because his parents still live abroad.

After calls via social media for people to attend the funeral of another American-Israeli, Nissim Sean Carmeli, were answered by at least 20,000 people, another social media call was put out for Steinberg.

People crowded the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on Wednesday (July 23) to show their appreciation for a man who didn’t have to serve but chose to defend Israel just the same.

“I came to the funeral to show my support to his family. I didn’t know Max but I felt it was important for me to come and show his parents that all of Israel supports the family and for them to know that Max didn’t die in vain,” 29-year-old Eli Satran told Ynet news.

“The love and support we’ve received is amazing. We understand why Max loved Israel so much, it’s because of the people,” Stuart Steinberg, Max’s father, told Hebrew media. “The people who came today prove that Am Yisrael Chai. We’ve been asked if we’re sorry that Max enlisted in the IDF. The answer is no. We are very proud of his decision.”


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About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.