6 June 2024

All the remaining 71 Thai vocational students, undergoing training in agriculture under a bilateral Thai-Israeli cooperation program, are to be flown back to Thailand on Monday.

Siripong Angkasakulkiat, vice minister of education, said today (Sunday) that 78 Thai vocational students had gone to Israel for agricultural training, at the Arava International Centre for Agricultural Training (AICAT), as part of the program.

He said seven students were repatriated earlier, adding that he had advised the remaining students that, even if their training centre is far from the war zone, there is still the risk of spill-over violence and, for their safety, urged all of them to return to Thailand immediately.

The students have agreed to be repatriated, he said, adding that, if the situation in Israel returns to normal and any of the students want to return to Israel to continue their training, the Ministry of Education will try make the arrangements.

Meanwhile, Interior Permanent Secretary Suttipong Juljarern said that provincial officials have been told to urge families of Thais still working in Israel to convince them to return to Thailand.

There are about 30,000 Thai nationals working in Israel, mostly in the farming sector. Fewer than 9,000 have agreed to be repatriated, while the rest remain reluctant to leave Israel, mostly due to concerns over outstanding debts at home, which will become a problem if they leave their well-paid jobs.