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Monday, May 15, 2006

American Teen Injured in April Suicide Bombing Dies

A 16-year-old American who was critically wounded in a Tel Aviv suicide bombing three weeks ago and who succumbed to his injuries on Sunday, is to be flown home to Florida for burial on Monday.

Daniel, who was in Israel for the Passover vacation, was having lunch with his father when the explosion went off in a downtown shwarma stand. His death raises the total number of people killed in the April 17 bombing to 11.

He will be buried on Tuesday in South Florida. A memorial service will be held in Jerusalem on Monday. He is survived by his parents, Cheryl and Tuly Wultz and his sister Amanda, a student at Tufts University outside Boston.

Advertisement Daniel, a top student from Weston, Florida who loved basketball and hoped to one day become a rabbi, was described by friends Sunday as a deeply spiritual teenager who was committed to his community.

"Daniel is best that they come," said his rabbi, Yisroel Spalter, in a telephone interview from Florida. "He was the sweetest, most sincere, committed and determined young man. You can't get any better. He was loved by his family, friends and his community, and this loss is so great."
"To talk about Daniel in the past tense is devastating," Spalter added.

Spalter, the head of the Chabad synagogue in Weston, has known the Wultz family for the past decade, but had become increasingly close to Daniel in the past year and a half, after the teen decided to become religiously observant. Spalter flew to be at Daniel's bedside after the attack last month and put phylacteries on the 16-year-old, who woke from a nine-day coma soon after.
A tenth-grader at the David Posnack Hebrew Day School in Plantation, Florida, Daniel was on vacation here visiting relatives. His father, Yekutiel (Tuly) Wultz, who is Israeli-born, chose the small restaurant near the old central bus station - the site of the attack - after their taxi driver recommended it as a tasty, kosher-for-Passover shwarma stand.

Tuly, who was lightly injured in the attack, told reporters two weeks ago that he remembered the moments immediately following the explosion. "I held his [Daniel's] hand and told him that I loved him," the father recalled. "Then he told me he loved me too, and those were his last words."

After being hospitalized last month, Daniel lost a kidney, his spleen and part of his right leg below the knee.

Though he has not received extensive media coverage in Israel, back in South Florida, Daniel Wultz has become something of a household name. His condition, along with reactions from the local Jewish community, has received extensive coverage, including front page stories in both the Miami Herald and the Sun Sentinel, the two South Florida newspapers.

The American ambassador to Israel, Richard Jones, visited him recently, and the 16-year-old also received autographed photos from his favorite NBA team, Miami Heat. Two weeks ago, students from the Jewish high school where Daniel was in the tenth grade gathered at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center to recite prayers for his speedy recovery. His South Florida community has also held prayer vigils on his behalf over the past weeks.

Since the attack, e-mails requesting prayers on Daniel's behalf have circled the globe.
Tuly Wultz told reporters that the continued prayers on his son's behalf "give Daniel the energy to fight and give us support."

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