Southern California native and “lone soldier” Max Steinberg lost his life fighting for Israel against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge last summer. In honor of his bravery, the Birthright organization, which provides tours of Israel for young Jewish Americans, has dedicated a memorial site to Steinberg in northern Israel.
A ceremony was held on Thursday at the site of the memorial, located near an ancient synagogue in the Arbel nature reserve in the Lower Galilee, according to the Times of Israel. Max’s family, fellow soldiers he had served with, friends from his Birthright-Israel trip, and Birthright representatives were reportedly among those present.
Max had joined the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) after visiting Israel for the first time through the Birthright program.
His father, Stuart, said “We know that Max would be so pleased to know that he would be remembered for his sacrifice in this very special place, and this very special way,” according to the Times of Israel. “But more importantly Max would be so happy to know that his legacy will include helping lone soldiers. Lone soldiers will learn the history and experience the beauty of Israel as participants on the Taglit-Birthright Israel programs.”
Steinberg, 24, was killed while riding in an armored vehicle in Gaza when it was attacked by Hamas explosives. He was with six other members of the elite Golani Brigade unit in which he was serving. Over 30,000 Israelis turned out for Steinberg’s funeral, which took place at Israel’s military cemetery on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.