CBSN

U.S. Teen Bombing Victim Mourned

Tuly Wultz, center, grieves over the coffin of his son, American teenager Daniel Wultz, during a memorial service at a Jerusalem synagogue before transferring his body to the U.S. for burial, Monday, May 15, 2006. Wultz, 16, died Sunday of wounds sustained in an April 17 Palestinian suicide bombing at a Tel Aviv restaurant. His death brought the toll of those killed in the attack to 11.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
AP
The family and friends of a Florida teenager who died of his wounds nearly a month after a suicide bombing packed a small Jerusalem synagogue Monday for a tearful memorial ceremony.

Hundreds of people attended the service for Daniel Wultz, 16, of Weston, Fla., before his body was flown home for burial. They remembered him as a caring boy who loved basketball, had recently embraced religion and dreamed of immigrating to Israel.

"Daniel had the biggest heart in the world," said his mother, Sheryl Wultz.

Daniel Wultz came to Israel with his parents to visit relatives on Passover. He and his father, Tuly, were having lunch at a Tel Aviv restaurant April 17 when a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated about 10 pounds of explosives in the entrance.

Daniel Wultz was brought to the hospital in critical condition, with wounds to his abdomen and a leg. He died Sunday. His death brought the number killed in the attack to 11, in addition to the suicide bomber.

Gabi Barabash, director of the Tel Aviv Medical Center, said hospital staff worked feverishly to save his life.

"We were all fighting to see Daniel smile," he told mourners Monday. "Daniel's smile will be kept in your memory."

When doctors told Wultz's family the end was near Sunday morning, they gathered around his bedside and sang songs he loved, relatives said. When he died, they recited the Shema, a prayer central to Judaism. Barabash said he would never forget that moment.

During Monday's service, U.S. Ambassador Richard Jones approached Wultz's simple wooden casket and placed a folded U.S. flag on top of it. Esti Wultz, Daniel's aunt, then draped a small Israeli flag over one end of the casket.

Wultz's parents and his sister, Amanda, walked to the casket, his father using a cane because of a leg wound suffered in the blast.

"You left us, Daniel. You gave the fight of your life. I was honored to be your father," he said, sobbing.

Relatives said Daniel Wultz had grown more religious in recent months after an earlier brush with death.

He and his father routinely flew with another father and son in a private plane, Esti Wultz said. But one day, Tuly Wultz decided they should not fly, and the plane crashed, killing their friends, she said.

After the service, Wultz's casket was carried to an ambulance as rabbis recited prayers and mourners wailed in grief.

Wultz's father walked down the street, said the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning, climbed into the ambulance and kissed the casket.

A memorial service was planned Tuesday in Weston.