In a heartfelt call to fans, the Maccabi Haifa soccer club called on its fans to “do a mitzvah (a good deed) and attend the funeral of fallen IDF soldier Nissim Sean Carmeli, so that his funeral will not be empty.”
The funeral for lone soldier Carmeli, whose parents live in Texas, is set to take place later Monday night, after his parents arrive in Israel.
Carmeli is one of the 13 combat soldiers who were killed in the close fighting at the Battle of Shejaya Saturday night and early Sunday.
A lone soldier from South Padre Island, Texas, Carmeli was born to a secular Israeli family which along with him, became more religious over the past several years.
Named for his grandfather on his mother's side, Carmeli, 21, was studying in a Jerusalem yeshiva before joining the IDF. He had been given the opportunity to avoid service in Gaza because of a foot injury, but insisted on going anyway.
Carmeli's two sisters live in Israel as well, but that is apparently the only family he has in Israel – so officials of Maccabi Haifa decided to step in and provide an “honor contingent” to accompany the fallen hero to his resting place.
In the call to fans, the soccer club said that “Carmeli was a lone soldier, and we don't want his funeral to be empty. Come to his funeral Monday night to pay respects to a man who died so that we could live. This is the least we can do for him and for our nation,” the message said.
Approximately 12,000 mourners turned out to Carmeli's funeral.