Israeli films Thai worker's Isan funeral after movie script comes true

Israeli films Thai worker's Isan funeral after movie script comes true

Jonatan, an Israeli filmmaker, at the funeral of Settha Homesorn, a Thai worker killed in Israel, at Settha's home village in Muang district, Nakhon Phanom province. (Photo: Pattanapong Sripiachai)
Jonatan, an Israeli filmmaker, at the funeral of Settha Homesorn, a Thai worker killed in Israel, at Settha's home village in Muang district, Nakhon Phanom province. (Photo: Pattanapong Sripiachai)

NAKHON PHANOM: The Israeli producer of a short film on the life of Thai workers in his country has arrived in this northeastern border province to capture footage of the funeral of a Thai worker who was killed by Hamas militants during the Oct 7 surprise raid into Israel, the event that triggered the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

The Thai worker, Settha Homesorn, 36, was one of 39 Thais confirmed killed in the Hamas attack. He and his twin brother, Jessada, and their younger brother Pom, 32, went to Israel about four years ago. The siblings worked at three different agricultural farms near the Gaza Strip.

Settha was killed while the two others remained safe.

Settha's body was flown from Israel to Thailand on Nov 10 and brought to Ban Nong Doen Pattana, his home village, in tambon Ban Phueng of Muang district where a Thai-style funeral had been held for him. Settha was the second Thai worker from Nakhon Phanom killed during the Hamas attack.

On Saturday, an Israeli man who identified himself as Jonatan, 30, arrived at the funeral, to the surprise of the local people.

Through an interpreter, Mr Jonatan said he is the producer of a short film featuring the lives of Thai workers who work in agricultural farms in the area near the Gaza Strip.

Mr Jonatan said he had met Settha and asked him to appear in his film as a lead actor. Filming began about two years ago.

He said he wanted to portray all aspects of the migrants' daily work lives. In an eerie foreshadowing of the real-life tragedy to come, he said the film's plot featured Hamas militants launching rocket fire from Gaza that landed on the farms, causing the workers to flee for their lives. Settha, the lead actor, was supposed to get killed in the last scene.

Mr Jonatan said he never thought the film's nightmarish plot would come true. 

The Israeli filmmaker said he was very sad, but in order to complete the film, he came to Thailand to film Settha's funeral.

He said he would stay with Settha's family for about one week to offer his sincere condolences. After the film's editing is completed, he intended to get it shown to a worldwide audience.

Mr Jessada, Settha's twin brother, said the three brothers worked separately at different farms. They knew the area was prone to Hamas attacks but did not expect the border conflict to turn so violent. He learned that Settha had been captured and taken hostage during the Oct 7 raid. He was later informed that his brother had been killed.

He coordinated with Israeli authorities throughout the identification process and returned home on a repatriation flight before Settha's body was brought to Thailand on another flight arranged by the government.

Mr Jessada said despite the loss, he still wanted to return to work in Israel where wages are high compared to Thailand.

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