Relations thrive amid hardship
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Relations thrive amid hardship

A labourer works on a farm in Israel. Many Thais are returning to work in the agricultural sector there even though the Israel-Hamas war has intensified. (Photo:
A labourer works on a farm in Israel. Many Thais are returning to work in the agricultural sector there even though the Israel-Hamas war has intensified. (Photo:

As we celebrate Israel's 76th Independence Day, we do so this year with mixed emotions of joy and solemn reflection. This milestone is a testament to our nation's enduring resilience and remarkable achievements, yet it is shadowed by the immense challenges we have faced in the past year.

The Oct 7 massacre has become part of the history we will forever hold in our collective memory. The pain and grief inflicted by this heinous act of terror still resonate deeply within our hearts. We mourn the lives lost and honour the bravery of those who valiantly defended our homeland. The scars left by this tragedy serve as a stark reminder of the ongoing threats aimed at undermining Israel's very existence.

In the aftermath of the Oct 7 terror attack, an unfortunate and unexpected bond was forged between Israel and Thailand. Thirty-nine Thai families experienced unimaginable loss, joining the community of bereaved Israeli families in mourning. Thirty-one Thai citizens were taken hostage by Hamas terrorists, enduring inconceivable trauma alongside their Israeli counterparts. Tragically, eight Thais still remain captive, held alongside 124 Israelis. The pain of their absence is felt keenly by their loved ones, in Israel and in Thailand, and our hearts are united in solidarity with them and their families. Israel remains steadfast in its commitment to securing the release of all hostages, standing shoulder to shoulder with the families of the victims, both Israeli and Thai, hoping to witness the return of all the hostages home as soon as possible.

Despite the hardships we have endured, the friendship between Israel and Thailand continues to flourish. Our shared experiences have strengthened the bonds between our two nations, fostering a spirit of solidarity and cooperation. As we look to the future, we are determined to build upon this foundation, expanding our collaboration in vital areas to both of our countries, such as food technology, agriculture, water technology, cyber security and defence.

In recent years, Israel and Thailand have made significant strides in strengthening their partnership across various sectors. The exchange of knowledge and expertise has benefited both countries, driving innovation and fostering investments and economic growth. Through joint initiatives and collaborative projects, we have demonstrated the power of cooperation in addressing shared challenges and seizing opportunities for mutual prosperity.

In the field of food technology, Israeli innovations have helped increase agricultural productivity and enhance food security in Thailand, while Thai industry has supported the growth of Israeli startups. Our expertise in water management has played a crucial role in mitigating the impact of droughts and ensuring access to clean water for communities across the country. In the realm of defence, our close cooperation has bolstered Thailand's security capabilities, enabling the country to better defend itself against external threats.

As we celebrate Israel's Independence Day, we renew our commitment to pursuing peace and prosperity for all. Despite the challenges we face, we remain optimistic and steadfast in our belief that a brighter future is within reach. Together, let us forge a path forward guided by the principles of unity, resilience, and shared progress.

In conclusion, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the people of Thailand for their unwavering friendship and support. As we stand together in solidarity, may our partnership continue to thrive and flourish in the years to come.

Orna Sagiv is the Ambassador of Israel to Thailand and Cambodia.

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