Thai Government Stops Sending Migrants to Parts of Israel Amid Gaza War

Areas close to Gaza Strip currently hold over 4,200 Thai laborers.

A Thai agricultural worker in Hatzeva, Israel. Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The Thai Labor Department has decided to stop sending Thai workers to certain areas in Israel deemed dangerous, the Bankgkok Post reported Monday.

The regions, all within about 20 kilometers of the Gaza Strip, are Eshkol, Bnei Shimon, Merhavim, Sdot Negev, Hof Ashkelon and Sha'ar HaNegev, in which over 4,200 Thai workers are currently employed, according to the report. Some 25,000 Thai migrant agricultural laborers work in Israel.

Sumeth Mahosoth, the Labor Department employment chief, told the Post that the decision was made at the behest of the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv. He noted there is no plan to evacuate the Thai workers and added that none of them have been hurt since hostilities broke out between Israel and Hamas a few weeks ago.

Thai agricultural labor in Israel is regulated by the 2011 Thailand-Israel Cooperation Treaty, by which only the Thai government and the International Organization for Migration are authorized to recruit Thai agricultural migrants to work in Israel, according to migrant rights' advocate Worker's Hotline.