A Silver Spring-born Israeli soldier remains in a coma, but responds when his hand is squeezed and moves his arm when his father wraps tefillin around it, his mother said Monday from Israel, where the family lives.
Netanel Felber, 21, was shot in the head several times during an attack on Dec. 13 at a bus stop outside of the Givat Asaf settlement. Two other soldiers were killed in the attack, when a Palestinian gunman stopped his car next to the bus stop, got out of the car and began shooting.
He is still in critical condition and is in the intensive care unit at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, said Judi Felber, Netanel’s mother. She added that family and friends from Silver Spring are offering their prayers to the Felbers, and call to check up on them.
In the weeks following the attack, several hundred people met at the Western Wall to pray for Netanel. Among the attendants were the civilian and military heads of Felber’s battalion, and the municipal chief rabbi of Safed, Shmuel Eliyahu.
Around that same time, 360 women, on five continents, participated in challah-making ceremonies in Netanel Felber’s honor.
“It means a lot to us,” Judi Felber said, “It really, really means a lot. I know there are a lot of prayer services, a lot of efforts to support us in ways we don’t even know. It’s really nice.”
The family made aliyah in 2008, when Nathaniel, as he was then called, was 9. When drafted, he joined the Nahal Haredi battalion, composed of Haredi Orthodox men.
Judi Felber has kept friends and family up to date through the website Caringbridge. The latest update was posted on Feb. 15.
The family is looking for a rehabilitation facility for when Netanel’s condition is stable, she wrote.
Rehab won’t be for a while, but we need to be prepared.”
Doctors do not know when Netanel will wake from the coma or how much motor and brain function he will have, she said, adding,
“People who neurosurgeons say that you never know, miracles happen. The brain is an amazing organ. Miracles happen all the time, so we’re hoping for a miracle.”