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Jews Stranded in Bangkok

By , Bangkok, Thailand

( With Bangkok’s airport shut down by anti-government protesters, Chabad of Thailand is prepared to host a greater number of visitors, mostly Israelis stranded in the country.

“We always have travelers so the shut down has not yet affected us in a significant way,” said Nechama Kantor, co-director of Chabad Thailand, the Jewish Association of Thailand Beth Elisheva Synagogue, Mikveh and Jewish Center.

The People’s Alliance for Democracy shut down Bangkok International Airport to bring down the government, according to flyers distributed by the group at the airport. In October a confrontation between police and protesters left two dead and hundreds injured. Two years ago, Israeli tourists took shelter at Chabad during a coup de etat.

“Thailand is a very unpredictable place to live in,” Mrs. Kantor told

Despite the closure, Rabbi Yosef C. Kantor, co-director of Chabad Thailand, is on his way to Israel for the funeral of his colleagues Rabbi Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg, murdered at the hands of terrorists in Mumbai, India. Satellite airports, such as the Pattaya Airport, 125 miles north of Bangkok remain open, and El Al is routing their flights through there.

As Bangkok and Mumbai are both top stops on the Israeli post-army travel route, the Kantors and the Holtzbergs worked closely on numerous occasions. The couples phoned each other to share ideas, emailed notes of support to each other – both so far from home.
 “We were very close with them,” said Mrs. Kantor.


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