Daniel's Story

The American media has failed to cover a story containing every item on the sure-to-interest-newsreaders' checklist. I invite you to ponder why that is.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus,

Arutz 7
It is a perverse human quality, but we are drawn to news stories about human tragedies. Some characteristics of such stories intensify the level of our interest: descriptions or pictures of gore or disfigurement; pictures of grieving loved ones; and some form of personal connection - no matter how indirect - to those at the center of the tragedies. The adage "if it bleeds it leads" condenses this notion to a pithy directive.

Yet, the American media has failed to cover a story containing every item on the sure-to-interest-newsreaders' checklist. I invite you to ponder why that is.

An Arab Palestinian homicide bomber detonated himself at a falafel stand in Israel on April 17th, during Passover. The murderer killed nine innocent people and wounded dozens.

A broad range of news sources, including USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS, ABC, CNN, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, gave personal background information about the bomber. We learned that he was an Al-Quds University drop-out and, incredibly, that he had been a social worker. In his going-away video, the murderer claimed he sought martyrdom on behalf of imprisoned Arab Palestinians.

Satisfying its compulsion to draw parallels between Israeli and Arab Palestinian suffering, at least one newspaper - the Philadelphia Inquirer - placed on page one of its April 18th edition a photograph of an unnamed Israeli grieving over the body of an Israeli victim. Placed directly below that is a photograph of the murderer's mother wistfully holding two photographs - in one he is holding a rifle - of her now-dead son.

Juxtaposing these photographs suggests that there are victims on both sides of the conflict in the Middle East: Arab mothers grieve for their dead sons and young Israeli men grieve for dead Israelis.

I find this moral equivalence repulsive.

But let's take one more step. If bleeders are leaders, and some kind of personal connection with the bleeders increases consumers' interest in a news story, then there is a follow-up story from the April 17th bombing that should have been all over the American media.

Daniel Wultz is a 16-year-old Florida teen who accompanied his father to Israel to visit relatives during Passover. On April 17th, Daniel and his father were eating in one of the few kosher shawarma restaurants in Tel Aviv. Daniel was almost killed by the homicide bombing. In a coma for two weeks, Daniel's spleen and one of his kidneys had to be removed. Then, this basketball-loving teenager had to have one leg amputated at the knee. As of this writing, it is still unknown whether the doctors will be able to save Daniel's other leg.

An American teenager, a healthy, athletic boy from sunny Florida, is transformed in a split second into a shattered vessel, a soul hovering between life and death. More and more parts of his body, instead of providing him with mobility and life support, turn against him, and are pared away in an effort to save his life.

Islamic Jihad claimed credit for the April 17th bombing. One of the terror group's leaders expressed sorrow that Daniel had not been killed, according to WorldNetDaily, one of the few media sources to cover the story.

Another Arab terrorist group seeking to share credit for the bombing extolled the double treat of having almost murdered an American and a Zionist. Islamic Jihad threatened Americans and Jews everywhere, saying they are all legitimate targets.

What American could hear this story and not become riveted, eager for updates, eager to cheer his progress or despair at any further impediments? But other than the Florida newspapers, such as the Sun Sentinel and the Miami Herald, and an AP story picked up by the Los Angeles Times (but by none of AP's other major subscribers), the rest of the mainstream American media has ignored the continuing and profoundly moving story of Daniel Wultz.

Is it because his parents, so focused on praying for their broken son, will not share his story with the media? That is true, but there is quite a bit of information available about Daniel; information that fleshes out the cold anonymity of just a name and hometown, information that one would think would draw the interest of caring Americans; information that is likely to interest news consumers, if only the news sources would provide it.

Daniel Wultz has been a student of the David Posnack Hebrew Day School in Plantation, Florida since elementary school. One of Daniel's passions is playing basketball; he played competitively at his local YMCA. It will be a miracle if Daniel, who has already spent days in surgery, will ever be able to walk, let alone play basketball. He will probably remain in hospital in Israel for at least six months.

The Wultz family synagogue, Chabad Lubavitch of Weston, Florida, distributed blue and white rubber wrist bands imprinted with the words "Pray for Daniel". The synagogue also set up a fund through its website to help assist the family with the extraordinary expenses it is suddenly facing.

Daniel's parents, Sheryl (Sarah) and Tuly, changed Daniel's Hebrew name to Chaim Meir Naftali. Following Jewish custom, the word for life was added to the beginning of his name in an effort to guard him from further danger.

How can it be that an American Jewish teenager whose survival of a terrorist bombing has been called a miracle is something most American media sources consider inconsequential? Why is his story not newsworthy - because Daniel Wultz is a teenager, an American, now an amputee, or because he is a Jewish Zionist? Or is it because the media thinks we are only interested in the personal lives of homicide bombers and their families? And whose fault is that?