A Friday arrival at Bangkok International Airport brings home the bodies of eight Thai citizens killed in the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7. Their arrival coincides with ongoing efforts to return thousands of Thai labourers to their homeland.
Yesterday, at the airport in Tel Aviv, Thai and Israeli officials held a short memorial ceremony in preparation for the first repatriation of the Thai dead. There have been reports of 30 missing Thai people, 16 injured, and 17 presumed abducted, according to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
About 5,000 of the approximately 30,000 Thai workers in Israel were present in the neighbourhood at the time of the incident. Over 500 Thais have returned home on two evacuation planes, with additional flights expected every day. More than 8,000 of the surviving Thais in Israel have reportedly expressed a desire to return home to Thailand.
On Saturday, two commercial aircraft carrying 534 Thai workers will return from war-torn Israel, according to a media source citing the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The workers have all filled out paperwork at the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv in preparation for their return home.
Thailand Workers Repatriated from Israel
On Friday at 8:15 p.m. (Israel time), the low-cost Indian airline SpiceJet will take off from Tel Aviv carrying 320 Thai passengers. We anticipate your arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand on Saturday at approximately 13:10 local time.
The flight on Arkia Israeli Airlines carrying 214 Thai workers will leave Israel at 11 p.m. local time and land at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport at 2:05 p.m. local time on Saturday.
The Royal Thai Consulate General in Sydney, Australia, issued a similar warning to Thai nationals living in Sydney on its Facebook page on Friday.
Thai people in Sydney are being warned to stay away from the Hyde Park area, which stretches from Town Hall to Belmore Park, since it will be the venue of an event this Saturday in support of the State of Palestine.
Thais in Sydney should stay away from the gathering. The emergency hotline number of the Thai consulate is 0411 424 303.
Israel Welcomes Thai Anytime
Labour Ministry permanent secretary Pairote Chotikasathien said that Thai workers would be welcome to return if and when the conflict between Israel and Hamas calmed down.
He reported that Kittana Srisuriya, minister counsellor at the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv, had met with Eyal Sisu, director-general of the Population and Immigration Authority (Piba), and Inbal Mashash, director of the Foreign Workers Administration, to discuss aid for two groups of Thai workers who had been impacted by the conflict.
Workers who had to return to Thailand three to four years ago when their contracts expired because of the war make up the first category. These workers had to leave their jobs because of the conflict.
Mr. Pairote said that the Piba will talk to the Thai Labour Ministry about the terms under which the workers can return to Israel to work.
The other group consists of Thai labourers who overstayed their visas and are still in Israel. He added that Piba would give them a visa extension till November of next year.
Included below are Thai workers in Israel whose contracts expire between now and April of next year. Mr. Pairote claimed that Piba will grant them a one-year visa extension.
According to him, the repatriation of foreign workers is a priority for Israel, and particularly the return of Thai workers who are vital to Israel’s agricultural industry and economic growth.
“The Labour Ministry is working closely with Israeli authorities to ensure Thai workers can return to work in Israel when the situation there eases,” according to him.
While everything was going on, a commercial airline brought home the remains of the first eight Thai workers who had perished in Israel following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. They were taken to the provinces where they originally resided.
The bodies arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on El Al Flight LY083 from Israel at 9:33 a.m.
Each of the other cities in the provinces of Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Buri Ram, Chaiyaphum, Si Sa Ket, and Sukhothai were to get two of the bodies.
Mr. Pairote said the Labour Ministry will first pay 40,000 baht to each family to cover burial costs.