Koh Chang, Thailand 311.
(photo credit: Elana Kirsh)
Chabad rabbis in Thailand on Sunday said they were taking safety precautions
after reports emerged that a terror cell was planning to attack Israeli and
Jewish targets in the country.
Rabbi Yosef Chaim Kantor of the Jewish
Association of Thailand said he was in close contact with the authorities and
they had taken measures to ensure the safety of his family and
“The Thai authorities are taking this very seriously and so are
we,” said Kantor. “We are in close contact with them.”
On Friday, Thai
authorities announced they had apprehended a Lebanese citizen on suspicion of
planning a terrorist attack.
Another man believed to have been his
accomplice is still at large.
Emissaries of the hassidic community’s
global Jewish outreach network have been targeted by terrorists in the past. In
2008, Islamist gunmen attacked the Chabad House in Mumbai murdering Rabbi
Gavriel Holtzberg, his wife, Rivka, and four guests. The tragedy has led to
increased security at Chabad Houses around the world, including
But in Phuket, an island located 700 kilometers southwest of
Bangkok whose name is synonymous with golden beaches and turquoise shores,
security fears in the distant capital seemed a world away. An Israeli who
answered the phone at the local Chabad House said Jewish vacationers did not
seem particularly worried about the terrorist threat.
“We received the
notification over Shabbat but other than that nothing here is particularly
unusual,” said Shlomi, who refused to give his surname. “I think people are
making too much of it back in Israel.”