Among the soldiers killed in action this week was 24-year-old Max Steinberg, who was a “lone soldier” – a soldier serving in the IDF while his family lives overseas.
Max came to Israel from Los Angeles, California in 2012, making the decision to live in Israel and enlist in the army despite having no family in the country and a limited understanding of Hebrew.
Family friends told Arutz Sheva that Max was inspired to live in Israel during a 10-day trip with the Birthright program. It was his visit to the Har Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem in particular that led to his decision to enlist in the IDF.
On Wednesday morning, at 11 a.m., Max will be buried in the Har Herzl cemetery.
Friends of the family have called on the public to attend the funeral in a final sign of honor. A friend of the family told Arutz Sheva that this is Max’s parents’ first trip to Israel, and called to show respect for the family’s fallen son.
Max’s family held a ceremony in his honor in his hometown of Los Angeles before boarding a plane for Israel.
Thousands at ‘Lone Soldier’ Funerals in Haifa, Ashkelon
Two other “lone soldiers” were killed in Operation Protective Edge: Nissim Sean Carmeli, from Texas, and Jordan Ben-Simon, from France.
An estimated 20,000 people attended Nissim Sean Carmeli’s funeral in Haifa, a Maccabi fan, late on Monday night after the Maccabi Haifa soccer team called on the public to come “so that his funeral will not be empty.”
Public officials discouraged a similar display of support at the funeral for Ben-Simon, which was held in Ashkelon which has been the target of many missiles.. Large gatherings have been forbidden in many parts of southern Israel due to fears that they will be targeted by Gaza terrorists in rocket attacks.
An estimated 5,000 people attended Jordan Ben-Simon’s funeral despite the safety concerns.