St.-Sgt. Max Steinberg “worked to become an Israeli in every way,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wrote the slain IDF fighter’s family in a letter posted on Twitter on Monday.
In the letter, dated July 23, Netanyahu expressed “profound sorrow” for the loss of the California native, who “fell in defense of the Jewish homeland.”
“I know that Max was a proud Zionist who loved Israel, made aliya and bravely chose to serve his adopted country. He worked to become an Israeli in every way and was particularly and justifiably proud to be a member of the Golani Brigade.
Despite the difficulties he faced as a lone soldier, Max loved the army, his brothers in arms and the responsibilities he was given,” the prime minister wrote.
Steinberg’s story “touched the hearts of many Israelis,” Netanyahu continued, citing the tens of thousands of people who attended his funeral, and saying that “Max set an example of selflessness that must... be preserved and passed on to future generations.”
In a handwritten note at the bottom of the typed letter, the prime minister said that his “wife and two sons, who were in the funeral, share your grief with all our hearts.”
Steinberg, a 24-year-old who lived in Beersheba, was killed on July 20 along with six comrades when a Hamas anti-tank missile hit their armored personnel carrier in Gaza City’s Shejaia neighborhood, in the “APC disaster.”
He was a sharpshooter in an elite brigade who had enlisted in the army several months after visiting Israel for the first time on a Birthright trip.
An estimated 30,000 people attended his funeral at the capital’s Mount Herzl Military Cemetery on July 23.