The Los Angeles parents of an American-born Israeli soldier killed in Gaza say their son was dedicated to his mission.
"He would be really, really happy and proud to see all of the outpour of all this love here," said his mother, Evelyn Steinberg.
Max Steinberg joined the
"Max had an amazing connection with the people," said his father, Stuart Steinberg. "The experience was beyond anything that he could personally have imagined."
He learned Hebrew to join an elite unit, the Golani, in which he became a sniper, ABC reported.
His mother said her son knew what he wanted to do and would not be deterred from it. She said he was not afraid and believed in the mission.
"There are those who wouldn't want to go into combat, but Max did," she said.
The Steinbergs planned to travel Monday to Israel, where they will bury their son, ABC reported.
It was unclear exactly how Steinberg died, but the Israeli military announced Sunday that 13 members of the Golani Brigade were killed by militants last weekend in the northern Gaza Strip.
Seven of them died when an explosive device hit an armored vehicle, one died in a firefight, two died in a separate attack and three died in a burning building, the Israel Defense Forces said.
At least 100 militants have been killed since Thursday, when Israel began the ground phase of a military offensive that is now in its 13th day, Israeli reports said. The total Palestinian death toll in the two-week crisis has topped 500. A total of 25 Israeli soldiers have been reported killed in the campaign.