Galya Tobelem flew to Miami Thursday night to visit her sister and brother-in-law.
When you go to see your sister, she told SELAH executive director Rachel Bar-On, you want to bring gifts. Instead she was bringing the remains of her nephew Israel Samolia, killed by a suicide bomber in an Eilat bakery on Monday.
Samolia will be buried at 2 p.m. Friday in Miami, where his parents and sister live. Originally from Peru, the family moved to Israel in 1984. They left for Miami seven years later, but Samolia returned to Israel on his own three years ago.
"His aunt said he loved Israel," Bar-On said in a phone interview. Her organization, SELAH - The Israel Crisis Management Center, helps the victims of terrorist attacks and their families. It helped make the funeral arrangements for Samolia.
Tobelem and Samolia's maternal grandmother live in Jerusalem. His grandmother is too elderly to fly to attend the funeral, so SELAH found a Spanish-speaking volunteer to offer her support.
Samolia had been planning a trip to Miami for the near future, to see his family for the first time in a few years, Bar-On said.
Before the flight to Miami Thursday, a small ceremony was held outside the Rabin Funeral Center in Eilat. Tobelem and Samolia's grandmother attended, along with Eilat Mayor Yitzhak Halevy, Bar-On and a representative of the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.
Tobelem added a note on the circumstances of her nephew's death to the coffin, addressing it to "My darling."