Saturday, June 9, 2012

Coming Home to Die

Dina Weil, 54, a Jewish Dutch woman who is struggling with acute uterine cancer, always loved to travel and had one last wish – to visit Israel and sing "farewell Jerusalem" overlooking Mount Scopus.  

By the time Weil's disease was diagnosed, the cancer had managed to spread. When the medical treatment failed to cure Weil, the doctors informed her that her days were numbered.

"I saw an article about a Dutch 'make-a-wish' ambulance and thought maybe they could help me fulfill my final wish – to return to Israel, spend my final days there and sing the song 'Jerusalem' on the peak of Mount Scopus," Weil said.

 "I contacted them and they put me in touch with the CEO of the Magen David Adom association in the Netherlands, Nanette Blitz, she added."With her help, we received free airplane tickets from KLM airline, and as we arrived to Israel, a Magen David Adom 'make-a-wish' ambulance waited for us at the airport." 

 On their way to the hospice, the ambulance stopped on the peak of Mount Scopus, where Weil, her husband and the ambulance crew stood in front of the breathtaking view.
 "We began to sing 'farewell Jerusalem'. We then sang 'Hatikva' (Israel's national anthem) and kissed the stones. It sounds romantic, doesn't it?" she asked with a smile. 

 "I have dreamed about this moment my whole life. When I was there, I felt it was my home, that I belonged in Israel," she said. 

 Weil was born in Sweden. After graduating from high school, she and her sister, Neomi, decided to make aliyah to Israel. She continued with her studies at the Bar Ilan University where she studied education. She met her husband, Shimon, after graduating, and together they moved to Amsterdam. 

 "We wanted to continue living in Israel, but my husband's work would not enable us to stay here," Weil explained. Shortly after the couple finally retired last year, they received the dreadful news – Weil was diagnosed with uterine cancer.  

 After Weil's visit to the Kotel, she said: "Better late than never. We're happy to start a new period in our life, in a place we can call home. My love for Israel gives me the strength to keep on going."

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