Dozens of migrant farm workers were seized or killed in the Oct. 7 raids on Israel and relatives plead for answers: “We have nothing to do with their war.”
She does not know why they are fighting in the Holy Land halfway across the world, or even exactly who is fighting. All she wants is her son to come home.
In the impoverished northeast of Thailand, past cassava fields and cows dozing in the heat, Watsana Yojampa has her son’s new house almost ready for his return. There is a room for his daughter, soon to be painted purple because that’s her favorite hue of Care Bear. There will be fancy light fixtures and air-conditioning.
In less than two years, her son Anucha Angkaew, 28, had saved enough as an avocado farmhand in Israel to pay for the construction. On Oct. 6, Ms. Watsana showed him tile options for the bathroom over a video call. He was very particular about his “modern house” and promised to get back to her on his preferred shade of gray, she said.
A day after that call, Hamas attackers besieged Israeli communities near the border with Gaza. By the time the bloodletting stopped, 32 Thai agricultural workers had been killed and at least 22 taken hostage, according to the Thai Foreign Ministry. Another accounting puts the total number of Thais who were killed, kidnapped or are missing but feared dead at 80.
Either way, Thais, who have no connection to Israel except as a destination for a few years of hard work, are the second-largest group of victims in the Oct. 7 attack, after Israelis.
We are having trouble retrieving the article content.
We are confirming your access to this article, this will take just a moment. However, if you are using Reader mode please log in, subscribe, or exit Reader mode since we are unable to verify access in that state.
Confirming article access.
If you are a subscriber, please log in.