Florida teens fly to Tel Aviv to pray for injured classmate

tel aviv (ap) | Thirty-one classmates of an American high school student critically wounded in a suicide bombing held an emotional prayer service for the boy Sunday, April 30, after flying to Israel in a gesture of support for their friend.

The service took place at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, where Daniel Wultz, 16, of Weston, Fla., has been treated since the April 17 blast.

Wultz and his father, Tuly, were having lunch at a Tel Aviv restaurant when a Palestinian suicide bomber ignited about 10 pounds of explosives, killing nine people and wounding many others, including Daniel and his father.

During the service, Tuly Wultz, who suffered a leg wound, spoke publicly about the attack for the first time. Supporting himself with crutches, Wultz said he didn’t remember the blast itself, only the force of the explosion flinging his son into his arms.

Wultz laid Daniel on the ground and waited for emergency medical personnel. “I held his hand and told him I loved him. He said he loved me,” he said. He described his son as athletic, warm, strong-willed and devout.

Daniel was taken to Ichilov, where his condition had to be stabilized before doctors could operate. Part of the lifesaving treatment included administering the drug Novoseven, the same medication used to control Ariel Sharon’s cerebral bleeding after his debilitating stroke last January.

Dr. Uri Martinowitz, who treated Daniel with the drug, said Novoseven was developed to control bleeding in hemophiliacs, but due to Israel’s experience with suicide bombings, the country pioneered use of this drug for treating trauma victims.

After the bleeding was brought under control, doctors removed Daniel’s spleen and a kidney and treated a serious leg wound. Last week he opened his eyes for the first time, but doctors say he remains in critical condition. He has not spoken since he was hospitalized.

“These are complex injuries, and he will be here for a long time,” said Dr. Dror Sofer, chief of trauma medicine at Ichilov.

The principal of Daniel’s high school, David Posnack of Hebrew Day School in Plantation, Fla., flew to Israel with 31 of the school’s students to join Daniel’s parents at the prayer service.

Tuly Wultz, whose hearing was also damaged by the explosion, declined to discuss his own injuries, saying only that they were minor and he’s doing fine.

He asked people to continue praying for his son. “The awesome support we’ve received gives Daniel the energy to keep fighting,” he said. “So please just keep praying, it’s working.”