30,000 attend Jerusalem funeral of lone, US-born soldier

Parents, siblings and friends of IDF lone soldier Max Steinberg, killed in Gaza, follow his coffin to the burial on Mount Herzl on Wednesday morning, June 23 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90)

They arrived by the thousands for Max Steinberg’s funeral. In flip-flops and tank tops, dressed in youth movement uniforms and army unit T-shirts, with yarmulkes and hats, bareheaded and with sunglasses, they filed in to the cemetery at Mount Herzl, standing in uncharacteristic silence under the hot sun to pay their respects.

“We’re here to give the family the feeling that we’re with them,” said Nirit Friedlander, a Jerusalemite who came with two friends. “They should feel that we’re holding them.”

“He’s a lone soldier,” said Yisrael Schwartz, another local. “He’s part of us.”

It was the sentiment voiced by everyone who spoke at the hour-and-a-half-long funeral.

Steinberg, 24, a sharpshooter in the Golani Brigade, was one of 13 soldiers killed on day 13 of Operation Protective Edge, in heavy fighting in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza City…