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‘I can breathe here’: Israelis moving to Thailand

Israeli and other tourists in Koh Phangan.Credit: Naama Noah
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People on a beach, sunbathing, chatting, one upside down doing yoga

Israeli and others in Koh Phangan (Naama Noah)

Published: 19 June 2024

Last updated: 19 June 2024

Koh Phangan ("Island of White Sands") is a small island, thick with tropical vegetation, some 600 kilometres south of Bangkok.

Locals say there are between 400 and 500 Israeli families living here. Many have arrived in the past few months.

Daniel moved after being evacuated from his kibbutz in the south after October 7.

“After the evacuation and the hardship that it created, we decided to leave. We wouldn't have wanted to start over anywhere else in Israel. We don't have the energy for it. We chose the extreme direction.

"It's much simpler . You make do with less. You give up a lot of things that you used to think that you can't do without.

"I'm still on the kibbutz's WhatsApp group, so I get updates on rocket alerts, but we're no great news followers. I'm in no rush to know what's going on in Israel.

"I'm not bothered by the moral question. After October 7, I don't feel I have to be in Israel to demonstrate that it's my home. There are no reasons to fight for my home. If I have a chance to give my family safety and move forward, there's no reason I shouldn't do it."

Yasmin Yafe set up a home in Thailand three years ago and has noticed the increasing number of Israelis flocking to Koh Phangan. "The presence of Israelis is very apparent - both the nice side of helping the community and the less nice side that often forgets the place's code of conduct.

"I went through a healing process here. It's somewhere that facilitates healing. I can breathe here, and you can't do that in Israel anymore."


'I can breathe here': the Israelis escaping war to set up home in Thailand (Haaretz)


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