The husband of an Israeli woman killed earlier this month in a terror attack in Berlin has regained consciousness to some degree from a medically induced coma, relatives said Saturday.
Family members said Rami Elyakim, 60, was breathing independently at a Berlin hospital.
“This morning they began lowering the sedatives, the respirator has been removed, and he is somewhat awake and communicating a bit, so there is improvement,” his sister Sigal Tzabari-Elyakim said.
Elyakim, 60, has not yet been told that his wife Dalia was killed in the December 19 truck-ramming attack.
Dalia was buried in the couple’s hometown of Herzliya last week. She was one of 12 people killed when an alleged Islamic State jihadist plowed into the Berlin market on December 19.
Elyakim’s sister expressed anger that the family had been denied the status of “victims of terror” by the Defense Ministry. Israeli victims who die or are injured in terror attacks either within Israel or abroad are considered “victims of hostilities” by the state, under a law drafted in 1970. Victims and their families receive special benefits from Israel’s tax authority and compensation from Israel’s social security.
However, the Elyakims are not eligible for those benefits. The Defense Ministry explained that as “the attack was not directed towards Israelis…the law does not allow the victim to be classified a victim of hostilities.”
Tzabari-Elyakim told Channel 2 News that “it is unbelievable that this law hasn’t been updated…In the past we were used to terror attacks in Israel, or that attacks abroad targeted Israelis, but that hasn’t been the case for a while now.
“The prime minister and his ministers keep saying that attacks against Israel and attacks against the free world are one and the same, so how is it suddenly not the same?”
At Dalia’s funeral last Friday, family friend Moshe Egoz described the pair as a “dream couple that loved life and loved to have fun and travel.”
“It was the trip to Berlin. They posted wonderful photos and we just can’t understand where this [tragedy] came from,” said Moshe Egoz.
Herzliya Mayor Moshe Fadlon paid tribute to 60-year-old Dalia as a “smiling, happy” woman who loved to travel, the Ynet website said.
Last week, the couple’s son Or, lit a candle on a 10-meter (33-foot) menorah at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate to mark the fourth night of Hanukkah.
The December 19 attack, Germany’s deadliest in recent years, was claimed by the Islamic State group.
The truck driven by Tunisian Anis Amri struck the popular market outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church as tourists and locals were enjoying a traditional pre-Christmas evening out near the Berlin Zoo station.
Amri was killed in a shootout with police in Milan, Italy, on December 23.