Hundreds of mourners gathered on Sunday evening in a West Hills, California park to honor the memory of Woodland Hills native Max Steinberg, who was killed while serving with the Israel Defense Forces fighting Hamas on Sunday.
“He was our family’s inspiration, our family’s spirit and he is worthy of you being here today,” said Max’s father Stuart Steinberg, as he addressed the crowd which amassed in support of the 24-year-old who gave his life fighting on the front lines for Israel, according to NBC Los Angeles.
Max had signed up to volunteer with the IDF following a 2012 trip to Israel on Birthright. He fell in love with the country and decided to move there a few months after, in the fall of that year. He held dual US-Israel citizenship and was serving as a “lone soldier” with the Golani brigade. The term lone soldier refers to someone who volunteers to serve in the IDF but who do not have any family in the nation.
Israel’s Consul General to the Southwest David Siegel told Breitbart News that there are around 5,000 lone soldiers currently serving in the IDF; a large number of them are from North America and Canada.
“I really haven’t wrapped my head around this. I can’t believe it, I just can’t believe it,” said Max’s distressed mother, Evie Steinberg at Sunday’s vigil according to NBC. Max’s parents and his two siblings (one brother and one sister) flew to Israel on Monday. His body will be buried sometime this week.
Max was one of four American lone soldiers who have been killed so far in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sean Carmeli of Texas was also killed on Sunday as he served on the front lines of the IDF’s Golani brigade. The IDF has not yet identified two more IDF fighters who they announced died in battle on Monday. The two men also held dual U.S.-Israel citizenship.