An estimated 30,000 people participated in the levayah in Yerushalayim for Max Steinberg, Hy”d, an American-born lone soldier who was killed in the fighting in Gaza earlier this week.
Steinberg, 24, was from Woodland Hills, California, in the San Fernando Valley. He was a sharpshooter in the Golani Brigade, one of 13 soldiers killed on day 13 of Operation Protective Edge, in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City.
He had volunteered for the IDF, and had served less than a year in the army after coming to Israel with the Birthright program.
“We’re here to give the family the feeling that we’re with them,” Nirit Friedlander, a Yerushalayim resident who came with two friends, told The Times of Israel.
“He’s a lone soldier,” said Yisrael Schwartz, another local. “He’s part of us.”
For Max Steinberg’s parents it was their first trip to Israel — to bury their son.
“I want to answer a question that’s on the mind of many people,” said his father, Stuart Steinberg, “about whether we regret letting him go, and to give an unequivocal no.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his “profound gratitude” to all who lined the streets of the capital on Wednesday to honor an American citizen who gave his life for the defense of Israel.
“That’s a remarkable statement — we’re very grateful,” Kerry said.