JERUSALEM (JTA) – Two American citizens serving as lone soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces were among the 13 Golani Brigade soldiers killed in Gaza fighting.
The two soldiers killed Sunday are Max Steinberg, 24, of Beersheba and Los Angeles, and Sean Carmeli, 21, of Raanana and South Padre Island, Texas.
Steinberg enlisted in the IDF several months after visiting Israel for the first time on a Birthright Israel trip in June 2012. He spoke to his father by phone hours before his death, according to the Times of Israel. The family is travelling Israel to attend his funeral.
Carmeli, whose parents are Israelis who moved to Texas, moved to Israel to attend high school in Israel. His two older sisters live in Israel. His parents reportedly are on their way to Israel.
The U.S. State Department late on Sunday confirmed both deaths and said that both men were American citizens.