A Buri Ram man has returned to work on a farm in Israel despite the ongoing conflict, in a bid to earn more income for his family.
Tom Prongjit, 33, had returned to Thailand during the Thai government’s repatriation campaign that brought back thousands of Thai workers from Israel.
Yet when he arrived back home in tambon Nong Tat of Buri Ram’s Muang district, he realised he could not pay off his debts nor build a future for his family and two children if he continued to live there. So on Dec 3, he flew back to Israel.
“My son had no choice but to go back as he has to pay off debts and interest worth around 700,000 baht based on a loan he took out from the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.
He also has the burden of taking care of his family and two kids,” said his mother, Boonsri Prongjit, 62.
He had already used the 15,000-baht compensation he had received from the government. Therefore, Mr Tom decided to risk his life to complete his five-year-and-three-month contract, said Ms Boonsri.
“My son worked there for one year and two months before he decided to return home for his safety. Now he is back in Israel, I just wish he would return home safely again,” she said.
She said her son keeps updating her about life and the working conditions at his work place on farmland in the Master-Q community, about 20 kilometres away from the fighting zone between Gaza militants and Israel.
All the travel expenses from Thailand were also covered by his employer.
“If I had the choice, I would not let my son return to work in Israel. But he insisted on going back because the salary rate in Israel is quite high and enough to pay off all his debts and raise our family,” she said.
Meanwhile, Wilas Tanna, a farmer and a recycler in tambon Ban Khu of Buri Ram’s Na Pho district, hopes that his 35-year-old son, Pongsak Tanna, will be released by the militant group Hamas, which has held him captive since Oct 7.
Mr Wilas said he was told by Thai authorities that his son is still safe, which really made him feel relieved.
After following up on news reports in Israel, he said he was glad that Hamas has started to release hostages. Among them was his son’s colleague, Santi Boonprom, a native of Buri Ram.
“My wish for New Year is that my son will be released by Hamas. If he returns to Thailand, I don’t want him to risk his life working in Israel any more,” said Mr Wilas.
According to the Foreign Ministry, there are eight Thais still being held captive by Hamas.
The Labour Ministry, meanwhile, found that about 60% of Thai workers who returned from Israel want to go back.