Family and friends of Daniel Wultz gathered in Jerusalem yesterday to pay their last respects to the 16-year-old U.S. tourist who died Sunday of wounds he sustained in last month's terror attack in Tel Aviv.
Daniel will be buried today in South Florida. He is survived by his parents, Yekutiel (Tuly) and Cheryl, and sister Amanda.
"Daniel had the biggest heart in the world and he would be so happy to see so many people brought together," Cheryl told the throngs of mourners yesterday.
Daniel was on vacation in Israel with his parents to celebrate the Passover holiday with their extended family here. He and his father, who is Israeli-born, chose the small restaurant near the old bus station - the site of the April 17 attack - after their taxi driver had recommended it as a tasty, kosher-for-Passover shwarma stand. They were waiting to meet Cheryl when the bomb exploded.
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 said. "Then he told me he loved me, too, and those were his last words."
Mourners yesterday recalled Daniel's love of Israel, his broad smile and his commitment to religious tradition. Before losing consciousness soon after the attack, he told a nurse at Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center, "I want to live."
"I need 16 years to tell you about Daniel because every day with him was different," Tuly said yesterday. "He put up a heroic and unbelievable fight. It was the fight of his life. We were lucky to have you for 16 years. May your memory be blessed. I love you Daniel."
U.S. Ambassador Richard Jones, who had visited the Wultz family at the Tel Aviv hospital, placed a folded Stars and Stripes on Daniel's prayer shawl-covered coffin.
"As a parent, losing one of my children is my greatest fear," Jones said. "Amanda, I know this is a time of great loss for you. I also lost a brother when I was your age. I still miss him.
"Only time will help us to understand," Jones continued. "Only time will help us to discern the outline of the Creator's plan, and even then our understanding will be imperfect. Until then, we must trust the Father's wisdom and draw comfort from the knowledge that He does not allow sacrifices like Daniel's to be in vain. Somehow, someday, some good has to come from the sacrifice of such an innocent."
Jones also blasted "the bloodthirsty terrorists" who planned the attack.
Daniel was one of the most severe casualties to arrive at the emergency room after the explosion. In the weeks following his hospitalization, the 16-year old lost a kidney, his spleen and part of his right leg below the knee.
A tenth-grader at the David Posnack Hebrew Day School in Plantation, Florida, Daniel was an avid basketball player and top student, who dreamed of becoming a rabbi.
"In the last month, we all learned a lot from your heroic struggle for life," Daniel's cousin, Yuval Wultz said. "We had hoped for a miracle. Your amazing heart fought so bravely for so long without giving up - until the last moment. Now, you are up there, so close to God. We need His mercy."
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