Florida teen dies of wounds sustained in terror attack orchestrated by ex University of Southern Florida professor
May 15, 2006
MIM: Islamic Jihad was behind the attack which killed Daniel Wultz and and 10 other Israelis. The head of Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shallah, left his teaching post in 1995 at the University of South Florida to head the organisation. Prior to the attack which killed Daniel Wultz, Shallah had been quoted as saying his terror group was 'stepping up plans to infiltrate suicide bombers into Israel'. Shallah had been brought to USF by professor Sami Al Arian , the now jailed head of the PIJ who operated for more then a decade at the University with impunity. Had the university acted when counter terrorism expert Steven Emerson exposed Al Arian in the early 1990's one could argue that Daniel Wultz and scores of others would now be alive today.
Posted: May 14, 2006
By Aaron Klein
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.
'People here are left speechless'
Friends of the Wultz family and members of the Jewish community in Weston, Florida, were shocked to receive the news of Daniel Wultz's death on Sunday.
"People here are left speechless," said Rabbi Yisroel Spalter of the Chabad of Weston, to which the Wultz family belongs.
"Everyone is gathering and looking at each other and crying. That is all there is do. It's too fresh, the shock is overwhelming," Spalter told The Jerusalem Post by phone from the Chabad center in Weston.
Rabbi Spalter has known the Wultz family for the past ten years. Over the past year and half, he said, his relationship with Daniel became very close following Daniel's growing interest in Judaism and in religious observance.
"He embarked on a journey to an observant Jewish life, and as a result I've been in touch with him almost daily, sometimes more than once a day," Spalter said.
Following the April 17 suicide bombing in which Daniel was gravely injured, Spalter flew to Israel to be at his bedside for several days.
"I saw him wake up and open his eyes for first time -- there was such emotion, such wonderful hope that God would listen favorably to our prayers," he said. "The whole community was praying for his recovery, but God wanted something different. We are in mourning and shock, it is an open wound."
The funeral, Spalter said, would take place on Tuesday, following the family's return to Florida.
"Talking about Daniel in the past tense is just beyond belief," Spalter said. "It's an enormous tragedy. Right now our hearts are with the family, they're far from us right now, but we will pick them up when they arrive and be there to support them for the rest of their lives."
"Daniel was a young man that everyone loved," Spalter added. "If there was one word that could describe him was that he loved - people, living creatures, God. He was such a good soul; so determined; so committed; there were no compromises with him. Jewish life was all-consuming for him. He wanted to do everything right, and our relationship grew because of it. I feel now as if a hand of mine has been cut off."
Spalter also recalled the thousands of people around the world who had prayed for Daniel's recovery.
"Daniel will be missed terribly, terribly," Spalter said. Every tragedy in Israel and among the Jewish people, especially the tragedies of victims of terror, is enormous. But in Daniel's case the whole world was praying for his recovery. He did believe, and his belief was so strong that he attracted all this energy around him, which was felt by the whole community and even by those who didn't know him. It's a testament to his faith and commitment. He sanctified God's name in life and in death."
Daniel Wultz remembered in J'lem
The collective grief of some 400 mourners filled the Nitzanim Synagogue and spilled into the streets of Jerusalem's tree-lined Baka neighborhood Monday, as family, friends and strangers inspired by Daniel Wultz's courageous 27-day fight for life came to pay last respects to the American teen before his body was flown to his home in Weston, Florida, for burial.
The service was restrained, but murmuring among those assembled expressed satisfaction that IDF troops and elite border policemen had shot dead seven Palestinians Sunday - among them Elias Ashkar, the mastermind of the April 17 felafel stand bombing that claimed the lives of Wultz and 10 others.
Dubbed Israel's most-wanted terrorist, Ashkar assembled the explosives belt used in the attack and is believed to have been behind all the Islamic Jihad suicide attacks during the past year, according to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
"It will not bring Daniel back, but it will send a definite message to those that seek to kill Jews," said Menahem Kuttner, director of activities of Tzeirei Chabad Terror Victims Projects, who organized Monday's service. "It is not only the IDF's duty to defend, but to prevent and to retaliate after terrorist attacks."
"On one hand it's poetic justice, but it also shows the futility of it all," said a family member. "Daniel's still dead. Nothings changes."
"Our biggest revenge is showing that we are not stopping our lives," said Yuval Wultz, Daniel's cousin.
Those who eulogized Wultz chose to speak of the teenager's strength of character and his inspirational fight for life.
"Daniel was 16 years old, and I need 16 years to tell you about Daniel, because every day was different," said his father Tuly, who suffered wounds to his legs when the bomber blew up meters from where he and Daniel sat for lunch. "You left us, Daniel. You did 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."
Others described Wultz a a deeply spiritual young man with a passion for basketball and for Israel. "Daniel was a person who radiated kindness and peace and love to anyone he was around," said Eitan Lukin, 16, who studied and played pick-up games with him at the David Posnack Hebrew Day school in Florida, before he made aliya with his family nine months ago. "He loved Israel, and he wanted to live here after he finished high school."
US Ambassador Richard Jones offered condolences to the bereaved family and placed a triangular folded flag on the casket. He also praised Wultz's strength in fighting to survive for 27 days, considering the severity of his wounds.
"Although the bloodthirsty terrorists took Daniel's life, they cannot deprive us of his spirit," he said.
Wultz died of complications associated with infections stemming from his massive injuries on Sunday to become the 11th fatality of the attack.
He will be buried on Tuesday following a memorial service at the Chabad Lubavitch synagogue in Weston.