The death of Yehuda Shoham occurred after on 5 June 2001 Palestinian threw stones at a civilian vehicle, near the Israeli settlement of Eli in the West Bank, in which the five-month-old was seated. The stones entered through the car’s windscreen and crushed the infant’s skull. Shoham eventually died of severe brain damage on 11 July 2001.
The incident occurred as Benny and Batsheva Shoham and their only child Yehuda approached Eli after paying a shiva call in Ra’anana. Near Eli, Palestinians hiding at the roadside hurled rocks at the car which broke through the car’s windscreen and crushed the infant’s skull. The father continued driving, worried about an ambush, and at a nearby intersection, the couple noticed their baby’s head injuries. Batsheva performed mouth to mouth resuscitation on Yehuda until the arrival of paramedics.
Yehuda was taken to an intensive care unit at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, where he lay unconscious and with severe head injuries. He was attached to a respirator for nearly a week before dying of severe brain damage on July 11.
From an Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release:
June 11, 2001 – Yehuda Shoham, aged 5 months, of Shilo, died of injuries incurred in a fatal stoning on June 5. He was critically injured by a rock thrown at the family’s car near Shilo in Samaria.
Five-month old Yehuda was seated in the family car, returning home from a condolence call on Tuesday night with his parents, Benny and Batsheva Shoham. A large rock crashed through the front windshield, striking the infant in the head. He was rushed unconscious by a mobile intensive care unit to Hadassah-University Hospital in Jerusalem, with severe head injuries.
Yehuda remained unconscious and attached to a respirator for almost a week, having suffered severe brain damage. After the attack, Yehuda’s father gave him a new middle name, Haim – “life” – hoping that his life would be spared. Friends and relatives maintained a prayer vigil at his bedside.
Yehuda was the only child of Benny and Batsheva Shoham, a couple in their mid-20’s. Batsheva parents are from Detroit and Los Angeles. Yehuda-Haim Shoham was buried in Shilo.
From this page, produced by a friend of the Shoham family (emphasis added):
Prime Minister Sharon came to speak at the funeral procession outside his office. Despite Benny Shoham’s pleas for restraint, and his exhortations to the crowd to heed Sharon’s words, Sharon was continually interrupted by people in the crowd, who called for vengeance and declared that Sharon is to blame for the current situation. He was briefly interrupted with shouts of “End the restraint policy!” There were loud calls for revenge as angered mourners decried the nonfeasance of the government even after a young life was snuffed out in one of what has become daily attacks. The last night before Yehuda’s death, the Prime Minister said tehilim (psalms) next to his bed.
On national TV, the father held the deceased baby in his carseat of last week’s blood stains, the blanket in its blood stains and the talis which wrapped the 5 month old. Kaddish was recited as the mourners answered amen as did those watching from home on TV. Policemen on horses for crowd control, IDF soldiers nearby, secular TV reporters, all answered amen to the father’s kaddish. The TV cameras were live with the father’s shaking hands holding his baby in the bloodied car seat, the bloodied blanket, and the talis.
At the funeral, Benny expressed his faith in God and the Jewish people and their leaders, to lead us through the current situation, to a place where Jews can again walk proudly and freely in their land.
My Cousin Yehuda, by Ari Harow, AISH, June 14, 2001.
Excerpt: “Just minutes away from their home in Shilo, a terrorist flung a boulder the size of a watermelon through the windshield of their car, hitting little Yehuda in the head. Upon arrival at the hospital it was clear that only a miracle would save Yehuda’s life, as his skull had numerous fractures, and within hours it was established that his brain stem was destroyed as well.”
Jewish settlers in West Bank urge revenge for dead baby, Chicago Sun-Times, June 12, 2001.
Just minutes away from their home in Shilo, a terrorist flung a boulder the size of a watermelon through the windshield of their car, hitting little Yehuda in the head. Upon arrival at the hospital it was clear that only a miracle would save Yehuda’s life, as his skull had numerous fractures, and within hours it was established that his brain stem was destroyed as well.
The Yehuda Fund was established in January 2002, shortly following Yehuda’s death. The Fund works with friends and donors around the world to design and implement projects that can make an essential difference in the quality of life for Shiloh’s residents.