An Israeli soccer team traveling in Bangkok will not play their planned match, due to a new curfew imposed by the Thai government.
The Thai government imposed the curfew between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. in Bangkok and 23 other provinces Wednesday because of increasing protests by the Red Shirts in the Thai capital.
Each year players from Shimshon Tel Aviv travel abroad to play a friendly exhibition match against a local team. After the players arrived in Thailand, the planned Bangkok game was canceled due to the new night curfew.
Despite the cancelations, Aryeh Mizrahi, assistant coach of the Shimshon team, said the players still hope to play soccer in Thailand.
“Yesterday the game was canceled because the city closed at 9 o’clock. So we hoped to play today, but the city is closed today, too. Tomorrow we are flying to Phuket, so maybe we will be able to play there,” Mizrahi told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.
Mizrahi has been to Thailand before and notices a palpable difference in Bangkok. He said most of the tourists have left Bangkok for the beach city of Pataya, one hour south.
“You see in Bangkok it’s more quiet now, like Yom Kippur in Israel. Usually at night the streets are full of people, and yesterday there were no cars and nobody outside.
Yesterday I saw in one place broken windows and burnt buildings,” said Mizrahi.
Nimrod Mizrahi, a travel agent at Lametayel-Bangkok, also compared the present situation in Bangkok to life in Israel.
“It’s like other people outside of Israel hear about fighting and terror
in Israel, but actually as a citizen I don’t feel it in daily life,”
said Mizrahi, who has lived and worked for a year in Bangkok.
Mizrahi said Lametayel-Bangkok has not received many cancelations,
although many clients are skipping Bangkok and heading straight for the
islands in southern Thailand or cities in the north such as Chang Mai.
“I don’t think Israelis are scared to travel in Bangkok right now, I
just think they don’t want to waste their time. Tourists don’t want to
get stuck in Bangkok,” Mizrahi observed.
A spokesperson for El Al said it hadn’t received an unusual number of
cancelations for its six weekly flights between Tel Aviv and Bangkok.