Two weeks since the Gross family was poisoned in their Jerusalem apartment, brothers Michael (7) and Yitzhak (5) have seen each other again for the first time.
Schneider Medical Center in Petah Tikva announced that the boys were moved into the same room Sunday, allowing the family to stick together during the difficult treatment.
Parents Michal and Shimon and cousins were present over the weekend with the kids and trying to transition back to normal, according to relatives. The meeting was bittersweet.
"Yitzhak is progressively recovering and Michael is still a bit weaker, but for both, all systems are functioning," said grandfather Yaakov Gross. "When the staff moved them in together they reacted to each other and talked. Today was Avigayil's (z"l) birthday, but two grandchildren have been reborn again for us," he said. Avigail was one of the boys' two younger sisters who perished in the tragedy.
Yisrael HaYom reported that relatives said that Isaac had already started asking questions about his sisters; the Gross parents have begun explaining what happened slowly, by degrees, according to the daily. Michael has not yet asked.
The tragedy last Wednesday occurred after an exterminator left the highly toxic material in the apartment's enclosed security room, also known as the "Mamad" or bomb shelter.
Apparently, the security room's seal was less effective than the storage requirements for the chemical require, and the poison spread throughout the apartment over several days.
Rescue officials at the scene were shocked to discover that the chemical's toxicity was the highest level on the spectrum. The exterminator has been arrested and an investigation has been launched.
Parents Shimon and Michal only recently finished the shiva traditional Jewish mourning period for their two girls, Yael and Avigayil (2 and 4), who were killed in the poisoning, and have been visiting the boys in the hospital throughout the ordeal.
They ask the public to continue praying for the boys' recovery; their Hebrew names are Raphael Yitzchak Isaac ben [the son of] Michal, and Chaim Michael Shlomo ben Michal.