News / Middle East

US 'Lone Soldiers' Among Israel Casualties

Israeli soldiers attend funeral of Sgt. Nissim Sean Carmeli, a dual American-Israeli citizen, at the military cemetery in Haifa, July 21, 2014.
Israeli soldiers attend funeral of Sgt. Nissim Sean Carmeli, a dual American-Israeli citizen, at the military cemetery in Haifa, July 21, 2014.
VOA News

Among Israel's casualties in the Gaza Strip this week: two soldiers born and raised in the United States.

The two men, 24-year-old Max Steinberg of California and 21-year-old Nissim Sean Carmeli from Texas, were so-called "lone soldiers," members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) who do not have family in Israel to support them.

In a country where military service is mandatory for most citizens, those who join voluntarily stand out from the crowd.

The Lone Soldier Center, an Israeli non-profit that provides a support system for such fighters, says there are more than 5,700 lone soldiers serving in the IDF.

The center says nearly half are Jews who come from around the world to join the IDF, while another 50 percent are Israeli orphans or Israelis from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Others are Israelis shunned by their ultra-Orthodox families and communities for going into the army.

Many lone soldiers who come from abroad describe feeling a connection to the country of their roots and view serving Israel as a calling. More foreign lone soldiers come from the United States than any other country.

Southern California native Max Steinberg joined the Israel Defense Forces just six months after visiting Israel for the first time with the popular youth program known as Birthright in 2012. Steinberg's father said his son was "completely dedicated and committed" to serving Israel and was "clear in what the mission was."

Steinberg and fellow American Sean Carmeli were among 13 Israeli soldiers and dozens of Palestinians who died Sunday during the first major ground battle in Gaza in two weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas. Both were dual American-Israeli citizens and members of the elite Golani Brigade.

Carmeli, who grew up in Texas, was born to Israeli parents and moved to Israel with his family when he was a teenager. His parents returned to Texas for work, and Carmeli could have gone back with them and sought the deferment of military service that is available to children born abroad to Israeli parents, but he chose instead to stay and enlist.

As many as 20,000 people attended Carmeli's funeral in the northern Israeli port town of Haifa, after his favorite football (soccer) team posted a call on Facebook for Israelis to go, so he would not be alone.

Some information for this report comes from AP.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gervas from: Mwingi-Kenya
July 23, 2014 2:17 AM
Hamas should learn that by firing rockets towards Israel, it was inviting war !.Who would sit and watch as his Family is being fought ? The Israerites have a moral duty to protect themselves !.

by: John Martin from: Portland, Oregon
July 22, 2014 8:57 PM
So you publish a glory-story on two traitors who served a foreign genocidal army, but no story on the American burned alive by Jewish settlers?

Why?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs