Thousands of people worldwide are praying for the recovery of a one-and-a-half year old baby boy who remains in serious condition after being badly wounded in Monday’s car ramming attack in Jerusalem, in which 14 people were wounded. The child, named as Yotam Shmuel ben Yael, may lose his foot, said medical staff at the hospital where he is being treated.
Yotam’s leg was nearly severed in the ramming attack, which targeted passengers standing at a Jerusalem bus stop. Though most of the attack’s other victims were only lightly wounded, one other, a 65-year-old woman, remains in intensive care after undergoing surgery overnight.
Paramedics at the scene first reported that the baby’s condition was only moderate, but within several hours it had deteriorated badly. Medical staff at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center, where he was taken after the attack, said on Tuesday morning that his condition “continues to be serious.”
In a statement, the staff said that they are continuing to work to save the baby’s foot, and that though the situation is serious, there is no danger to his life.
Dr. Asher Shalmon, Deputy Director of Hadassah, told Israeli radio, “He’s still unconscious and on a respirator.” He added that staff would be attempting to wake him today.
The attack occurred on Monday morning when a terrorist, 21, identified as Abed Almohsin Hassone from Beit Hanina, rammed his Mazda into a bus stop on a busy street near Jerusalem’s Chords Bridge.
Three different people on the scene, including a member of security forces, a security guard, and a civilian, immediately shot at the driver, killing him before he was able to get out of his car. Upon searching the vehicle, police found an axe, suggesting that, as in several other similar car ramming attacks in recent months, the terrorist planned to attack more victims with a blade after striking them with his car.
Calls have gone out over social media to pray for the child’s recovery, using his name paired with the name of his mother, Yael, which is the traditional way of praying for one who is sick or in need of divine aid.
One Facebook post with nearly 800 shares read, “He just went into surgery and needs רחמי שמים /Heavenly mercy.The family has asked us to daven (pray) for him. Please Daven/Pray in your own words or pick a psalm to say for all those injured in these horrifying attacks on the innocent.”
The post included links to a worldwide prayer campaign which has been set up for those who wish to recite psalms in Hebrew in the merit of Yotam’s recovery. The website calls for joint prayer. “Each person reads one chapter and together we will complete the Book of Psalms for the healing of Yotam Shmuel ben Yael,” reads the website’s heading.
So far, 4642 chapters of Psalms have been read, and the book has been recited in its entirety 30 times. A total of 1823 readers have contributed to the joint prayer. According to the website, 61 people have also taken upon themselves a commitment to do a good deed in the name of Yotam’s healing.
Those who wish to participate in the worldwide call to prayer are asked to pray for the refuah shleima, “complete healing” in Hebrew, of Yotam Shmuel ben (son of) Yael.