July 23, 2014
American Gives All for Only Democratic, Free State in Middle East
Some give lip service, others give all they have:
Nearly 30,000 mourners flocked to the funeral Wednesday for American Max Steinberg, who fell in love with Israel and died fighting for its military against Hamas militants this week.Rest in peace.
"There were crowds of men and women, religious and secular, ultra-Orthodox, young and old, all are here together for each other, simply amazing and moving," said Meytal Blumenthal, one of the mourners who didn't know Steinberg, 24, of Woodland Hills, Calif. "I came to give encouragement and left encouraged."
Steinberg, who was living in Beersheba, Israel, was one of two American-born "lone soldiers" killed in clashes with Hamas fighters Sunday. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) uses the designation for 6,000 soldiers whose parents do not live in Israel. The military says 1,100 "lone soldiers" are from the USA.
Steinberg grew up in the San Fernando Valley, and attended Pierce College and El Camino Real High School in Southern California. He first visited Israel in June 2012, his father, Stuart Steinberg, said.
When he returned home, Max Steinberg told his parents he planned to join the IDF. He moved to Israel less than six months later.
"He went back," Stuart Steinberg said. "He was completely dedicated and committed to serving the country of Israel. He was focused, he was clear in what the mission was, and he was dedicated to the work he needed to be doing."