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Thai Worker Among Hostages in Israel-Hamas Conflict

Natthaporn Onkaew’s Risky Journey to Israel

When Natthaporn Onkaew, a 26-year-old Thai migrant, decided to travel to Israel two years ago to work on a farm, his father expressed concern about the country’s ongoing conflicts. Despite the warnings, Natthaporn was determined to go. Little did his family know that their worst fears would soon become a reality.

A Captive in the Hands of Hamas

Natthaporn is now one of 11 Thai hostages held by Hamas militants in their recent attack on Israel. Since Friday, his parents have been unable to contact him and have only seen a photo on social media showing hostages with their hands seemingly tied. The anguish and worry in his mother’s voice were palpable as she pleaded for his safe release.

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Desperate Plea from a Mother

Natthaporn is not just a son; he is the sole breadwinner for his family, sending them monthly remittances of 30,000-40,000 baht ($812-$1,083). This money covers his 12-year-old sister’s school fees. The uncertainty of his situation weighs heavily on his loved ones, who are desperately hoping for his return.

The Plight of Migrant Workers

With approximately 30,000 Thais working in Israel, mainly in agriculture, this conflict has put many lives at risk. Both the Thai and Israeli governments are closely monitoring the situation, and Thailand’s leaders are urging Hamas not to harm the hostages. Unfortunately, this ongoing crisis has already claimed the lives of 18 Thai citizens, with nine others injured.

A Shared Fate with the Philippines

Thailand and the Philippines are the primary sources of migrant workers for Israel, with Filipinos predominantly working in healthcare. The magnitude of this situation affects not only Thai workers but also their Filipino counterparts. The repercussions of this conflict go beyond national borders.

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As the world watches the devastating consequences of the Israel-Hamas conflict unfold, families like Natthaporn’s are left in a state of uncertainty and fear. The hope for a peaceful resolution and the safe return of all hostages remains paramount. Let us stand together and pray for their safety.

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