Monday, May 15, 2006
Daniel Wultz is coming home
This is my way of saying `Welcome Home' to someone I never met, and who's story deserves to be told.
Today the news headlines are filled with headlines about an IDF raid in Jenin and the next door town of Qabatia in which 7 Palestinians were killed in the fighting.
The stories in the mainstream press referred, at best to `militants'...some simply referred to 7 `Palestinians' as though the IDF simply went on a random hunting expedition and shot whomever they ran into.
None of the stories I could find mentioned anything about Daniel Wultz.
Daniel Wultz was the subject of a memorial service at the Nitzanim Synagogue in Jerusalem today. Over four hundred mourners, inspired by his heroic 27-day fight for his life came to pay last respects before his body was flown to his home in Weston, Florida, for burial.
Daniel was a 16 year old American teenager who died of the injuries he sustained in a homicide bombing at a felafel resturant just outside the city's old central bus station April 17 in Tel Aviv while eating lunch with his father during a family vacation over the Passover holiday. Ten other people died in that attack who's only crime was to pick that particular resturant for lunch that day...not to mention the ones who were critically injured.
Islamic Jihad and the military wing of Abbas' Fatah faction, the al-Aksa Brigade, teamed up to take credit for this `operation'. This was the same attack that the Hamas government referred to as `legitimate self-defense'.
Daniel lost his spleen, a leg and a kidney in the attack. He was in a coma in the intensive care unit for eight days, and opened his eyes for the first time since the attack just as his rabbi, Yisroel Spalter who had flown in from Florida to be with him donned him with teffillin, or Jewish prayer phylacteries.
"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."
Daniel began showing signs of communication to his doctors, including blinking his eyes in response to questions. But he went back into a coma the next day.
Perhaps it was G-d's way of comforting Daniel and his family in preparation for his journey...giving him and his family a chance to say their goodbyes.
The mood during the service in Jerusalem was sorrowful and somber, but perhaps one source of grim satisfaction for the mourners was the news of the IDF raid I mentioned at the beginning of this story. Because the seven Palestinians the IDF took out in Jenin and Qabatia were the terrorist cell that planned and executed the bombing at the resturant where Daniel was murdered, and included the cell's leader, Elia Ashkar, who assembled the explosives belt used in the attack and recruited the bomber,according to the Shin Bet.
That's why the IDF went after the terrorists today...for Daniel and the other innocent victims, and to keep it from happening to someone else.
And perhaps that's why the Main Stream Media chose not to mention it.
"Our biggest revenge is showing that we are not stopping our lives," said Yuval Wultz, Daniel's cousin.
Daniel's family says goodbye
Daniel's father, who had the horrendous sorrow of living every parent's nightmare and burying a beloved child had this to say:
"Daniel was 16 years old, and I need 16 years to tell you about Daniel, because every day was different.
You left us, Daniel. You fought a heroic, unbelievable fight, the fight of your life. But it was too much...I was honored to be your father, and privileged and lucky to have you for 16 years."
There may be those of you who feel that this has nothing to do with me and you..sad, yeah, but just another episode in the `cycle of violence'. That is a huge mistake.
According to the U.S. Embassy, more than 200 American citizens have been killed or wounded in terrorist attacks in Israel since 1992.
Consider the reaction to Daniel's death by Abu Nasser, one of the leaders of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades who helped plan his murder:
"This is a gift from Allah. We wish this young dog will go directly with no transit to hell...we say to the Americans we wish you more Daniel Wultzs and more pain and sorrow because it seems that this is the only thing you deserve."
Or from Abu Amin, one of the leaders of Islamic Jihad: "...our hero believed in Allah and died while fighting for Allah but your pig was killed in a restaurant."
He said Wultz's death should demonstrate to Americans "that even if you live in the US the hand of Allah and the sword of the Jihad fighters will reach you and you will find the same end (as Wultz)."
Realize that Daniel's murder is part of a war that directly targets all of us..because it is an assault on everything decent, good, and noble in our society, and the people that perpetrated this would just as joyfully kill you or me, your child or mine.
There is no negotiation to be entered into, no grievance to be addressed and no treaty that would mean anything with the kind of evil that would celebrate this as a holy act.
Because Daniel was targeted not for anything he had done, but simply for who he was. And it could have been any of us. And if Daniel's story helps people understand this fundamental truth about our enemies , his death and the death of the other ten people who died in this attack, sad as it is, will have not been totally in vain.
Welcome home, Daniel. HaShem Yimkom Domov. Z"l