US President Barack Obama was welcomed in Israel last week with the expected fanfare.

Honor guards and photo-ops, handshakes and press conferences. State dinners and children’s choirs, speeches to university students (unless you study in Ariel), and wreath-laying ceremonies were also on the agenda.

Whether this was a trip aimed at improving the president’s public relations and popularity, or if the intention was truly to discuss and implement decisions regarding important matters such as Iran, Syria and the Palestinians, while the world’s attention was on Jerusalem, another significant and interconnected story, albeit a tragic one, was developing just an hour away in a Petah Tikva hospital.

While receiving only limited media coverage, as of this writing, two-year-old Adele Biton, the youngest daughter and child of Yakir residents Rafi and Adva Biton, remains fighting for life.

Driving home from Ariel on Route 5 after a visit with their mother and grandmother, Adva and three of her daughters were wounded (the oldest daughter was not in the car at the time) when Palestinian terrorists hurled not pebbles, or small rocks, but what looks like large concrete blocks at the Bitons’ car, causing it to swerve and ram into a truck parked on the side of the road.

The impact was so severe that the Bitons’ car became trapped under the truck, with emergency services requiring an extended period of time to extricate the victims.

While Adva and the two older daughters in the car were moderately wounded, little Adele suffered severe trauma and was listed in critical condition.

Some reports indicate that she required life-saving resuscitation on the scene after losing her pulse.

After hospitalization at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Adele was transferred to the adjacent Schneider Children’s Medical Center where she underwent several surgeries to relieve the pressure on her brain. At this point doctors are saying that they’ve done all that they can, and are just waiting – hoping and praying that Adele recovers.

Seated round the clock in Schneider’s intensivecare waiting room, Rafi and Adva are surrounded by close friends, hoping for any positive news from Adele’s caretakers.

The dark purple bruises encircling Adva’s eyes and those on her neck are a clear indication of the severity of the crash. Despite the circumstances, the Bitons are somehow able to maintain an upbeat and even positive demeanor.

“It’s a miracle that anyone survived,” says Rafi, grateful that his wife and two other daughters are no longer in need of hospitalization. Rafi says that at the time of the attack, he was driving in the opposite direction toward Ariel when he saw a commotion on the other side of the road amid the oncoming traffic.

Little did he know at the time, but it was his own family that was the target of an attack.

Following the incident, Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett reminded his Facebook followers that “rocks kill.” He added, “Some people take rock-throwing lightly, and prevent action against them,” seemingly referring to fellow politicians and lawmakers who he feels aren’t tough enough on those who favor rocks as their weapon of choice. “Rock-throwers are trying to murder and they need to be treated accordingly,” he said.

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman went a step further after the attack and, according to The Jerusalem Post, urged incoming Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to change the IDF’s rules of engagement to instruct soldiers to open fire at “rock-throwing terrorists.”

“Rock-throwing [should] be treated like shooting using firearms,” he said, adding that “only this kind of change will stop civilians and soldiers from being targeted by Arab rioters and prevent disasters.”

But for Rafi and Adva, the focus isn’t on IDF policy, it isn’t on reports they heard indicating that the perpetrators of the attack might have been apprehended, and it certainly isn’t on President Obama’s visit and any magical formulas for “peace” that he may have brought with him, but on the well-being of little Adele.

When asked what this reporter or the general public could do to help the family, Rafi gives a short response, “Please just pray.”

He says that he is grateful for the kindness shown by his close-knit community of Yakir, whether in keeping the family company at the hospital, with meals, or looking after the other children, (his cellphone doesn’t stop ringing throughout our short conversation as well-wishers call to check on Adele’s health), but all he is asking from compassionate people around the world is their prayers.

Arriving at my office near the center of Jerusalem a few days after the hospital visit, as thousands of security personnel are on duty for Obama’s trip, I try locating the Biton’s contact information so that I can check on Adele’s well being.

With a telephone listing indicating three Biton families living in Yakir, I call the wrong number.

“This isn’t the Biton family you are looking for,” the woman on the other end of the line says, “but I’m a friend of the family, and I know the news isn’t any better.”

After she gives me the correct contact information, I apologize for my mistake. The woman on the line says that it’s okay, “Adele, is all of our daughters.” Please pray for a full recovery for Adele Chaya bat Adva!

The writer is a media expert, freelance journalist, and host of Reality Bytes Radio on www.israelnationalradio.com.

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