TEL AVIV – Daniel Wultz, a Florida teenager who had been lying in a coma after he was critically injured last month in a suicide bombing at an Israeli restaurant, has just died of his wounds, sources close to the Wultz family told WND.
Wultz, 16, was one of over 60 people injured in the attack in which a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded section of Tel Aviv as Israelis celebrated the fifth day of the Passover holiday on April 17. The blast ripped through a falafel restaurant just outside the city’s old central bus station, killing nine. The same restaurant was hit by a suicide attack in January, wounding 20. A tenth Israeli victim passed away yesterday. Wultz’s demise today brings to 11 the total number of deaths from the suicide blast so far.
Wultz was a resident of Weston, Fla. He was on Passover vacation in Israel along with his family. The teenager was seated with his father, Yekutiel, at an outside table of the targeted restaurant when the bomb was detonated.
Described as an avid basketball player, Wultz lost his spleen, a leg and a kidney in the attack. Doctors at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital had reportedly been fighting to save his other leg, which was suffering from severely reduced blood flow. Wultz’s father suffered a fractured leg in the attack.
Wultz had been lying in a coma in the intensive care unit since the bombing, though he briefly was aroused last month.
His story had generated extensive international media coverage and had prompted a flurry of e-mails across the Internet asking people worldwide to pray for the young terror victim.
Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Brigades, the declared military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party, claimed responsibility for the bombing.
In WND exclusive interviews following the attack, Abu Nasser, a leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades who openly boasted about leading the suicide bombing called Wultz the “best target combination we can dream of – American and Zionist.” Abu Ayman, a leader of the Islamic Jihad, which also took responsibility for the bombing in which Wultz was injured, threatened all Americans and Jews worldwide and expressed regret Wultz was not imediately killed in the blast.
Wultz opened eyes as Rabbi wrapped him with Scripture
Wultz had been temporarily aroused last month before falling back into a comatose state.
WND reported that eight days after he was injured, the teen opened his eyes for the first time since the attack just as his rabbi donned him with teffillin, or Jewish prayer phylacteries.
Yisroel Spalter of the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish outreach movement, had flown in from Florida to be with the Wultz family. He described the moment during which Wultz opened his eyes to Chabad newssite Shterum.net.
“I started to put the tefillin on his hand and right before our very eyes Daniel opened his eyes and stared at us despite his comatose state. Maybe it was just a reflex, maybe not, but the fact that it happened precisely when the tefillin were placed on his hand shocked us all. Even the doctors were surprised.
“The family members who were present could not hold back their tears and were full of emotions. I cannot describe to you the electricity that flowed through the room then. It was one of the most moving and emotional experiences I ever witnessed.”
Spalter the next day again put tefillin on Wultz, who soon after opened his eyes again and for the first time began showing signs of communication to his doctors, including blinking his eyes in response to questions. But he returned to a coma state the next day.
Tefillin are leather objects with black straps containing biblical verses that are worn on the head and on one arm by Jewish men during weekday morning prayers. The verses inside the tefillin are hand-written by a scribe and consist of the four sections of the Torah in which tefillin are commanded.
One of the main commandments for wearing tefillin comes from the biblical verse in Deuteronomy: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. … Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a frontlet between your eyes.”
Tefillin have been directly connected to war and terrorism, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Lewin, a Tel Aviv rabbi, explained to WND.
A verse in Deuteronomy states, “Then all the people of the earth shall see that the name of God is proclaimed over you and they will fear you.”
The Talmud explains the biblical verse is referring to the donning of tefillin, which contains the name of God.
In response to the verse, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the revered leader of the Chabad Lubavitch movement, promoted a tefillin campaign in Israel and around the world following the 1967 Six Day War, in which the Jewish state was attacked by several Arab countries.
“After the Six Day War the Rebbe [Schneerson] recognized the power of tefillin and its connection to war against Israel and the desire of its enemies to annihilate the Jewish state, and he started an enormous tefillin campaign,” said Lewin.
Wultz body is being flown back to Florida for burial this week, sources close to the family said.
Dr. Patrick Surkin, the surgeon who treated Wultz, told Shturem.net, “It is very hard to describe the scope of the tragedy.”