Israel: BBC investigation alleges Thai farm workers subject to unsafe working conditions & "squalid" living conditions

BBC conducted a year long investigation and said it discovered man Thai nationals living and working on Israeli farms are being exploited and abused.  It also alleged there were many unexplained deaths.

Thousands of Thai labourers work in Israel under an agreement by the two governments. 

The Israeli government has strongly refuted the allegations (full details below).

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4 December 2018

BBC investigation looks at 'forgotten' Thai workers in Israel.

Author: BBC

A yearlong BBC News Thai investigation has discovered many Thai nationals living and working on Israeli farms are being exploited and abused. Tens of thousands of Thai labourers work in Israel under a scheme organised by the two governments. Many are subjected to unsafe working practices and squalid, unsanitary living conditions. Some are overworked, others underpaid, and there are dozens of unexplained deaths.

In The forgotten Thai Workers In Israel, published on, BBC News Thai journalist, Issariya Praithongyaem, zeroes in on the hardships they face, talking to them, their employers, Israeli and Thai officials and non-government organisations.

 Israel grows fruit and vegetables which are sold in supermarkets across the globe. Since the start of the Thailand-Israel Cooperation on the Placement of Workers (TIC) programme in 2012, Thais have made up a big part of Israel’s agricultural workforce. Today, their number exceeds 25,000....

...Issariya Praithongyaem has travelled extensively in Israel, speaking with hundreds of Thai workers at more than 50 farms.

...Thai workers are allowed to work in Israel for up to five years, and during their stay, they are entitled to expect a reasonable level of comfort and safety. However, not many accommodations meet the standard housing requirements.

...Since the TIC programme began in 2012, more than 170 Thai workers have died while in employment in Israel. Many of the death certificates describe the deaths as undetermined.

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4 December 2018

Israel rejects ‘distorted’ BBC report on abysmal conditions of Thai farm workers

Author: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel

Israel on Thursday rejected a report by the BBC that Thai agricultural workers in the country are kept in conditions that are a threat to their health, saying in a multi-ministerial communique that the report did not accurately reflect the reality.

....A joint statement issued by the ministries of health, foreign affairs, agriculture, welfare, and the Population and Immigration Authority, declared that the report was “distorted.”...“We strongly reject the unprecedented allegations reported by the BBC concerning the terms of employment of Thai workers in Israel,” the statement said. “These claims portray a distorted picture of reality.”  

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