Jerusalem - A five-month-old Israeli baby died on Monday after never regaining consciousness in the six days since a stone crashed through the windshield of the family car as his father drove toward their West Bank settlement home.
Yehuda Shoham - whose parents added the middle name Haim, Hebrew for "life" - after the June 5 injury, had remained on a respirator and had never woken up before his death, said hospital spokesperson Yael Bosem-Levy.
"The family was with him - always they were with him," Bosem-Levy said.
Yehuda was struck on the head while his father, Benny, drove to the family's home in Shilo. He had been in the back seat, next to his mother, Batsheva. Batsheva Shoham's parents are from Detroit and Los Angeles.
Her cousin, Ari Harow, 27, gathered with other relatives at the hospital, struggling to sort through their emotions.
"We think of Benny and Batsheva - wonderful people who didn't deserve this tragedy," he said.
Mingled with that grief is confusion and rage over how the government is dealing with a Palestinian uprising in its ninth month. Since September, 25 Jewish settlers have been killed in roadside ambushes or drive-by shootings on West Bank roads.
"All we do is buy into idle promises of ceasefires," Ari said. "Whatever needs to be done should get done before someone else has to pay this price."
The day after his son was injured, Benny Shoham, a student at a Jewish seminary in Shilo, criticised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for not responding more forcefully to Palestinian attacks. "Unfortunately, our government is showing a lot of weakness in its response to terrorism," Shoham told reporters at the hospital.
Israel has harshly criticised the Palestinians for failing to put an end to roadside shootings and stonings of settler vehicles as part of a cease-fire called Saturday by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Sharon had visited the baby on Sunday evening in the intensive care unit in Jerusalem's Hadassah hospital, where Yehuda's parents, friends and relatives had been maintaining a prayer vigil.
A funeral procession of armoured buses was to travel on Monday night from outside the prime minister's office in Jerusalem to Shilo for burial. Sharon was expected to participate in the ceremony.
In a statement delivered to reporters by a relative on Monday, Benny Shoham asked his nation to join in mourning his son.
"In this tough time that the people of Israel find themselves, we urge all of Israel to join us in the funeral procession of our son," he said in the statement. - Sapa-AP