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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Thailand’

Latest Developments on Bomb Attack in India, Failed Attack in Thailand

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

New developments have been reported in the wake of the bomb attacks on Israeli diplomatic targets in India and Georgia yesterday.

The occupant of the car that exploded in India has been identified as Tal Yehoshua-Koren, wife of Israel’s defense attache in India. According to reports, Yehoshua-Koren suffered serious spinal injuries and was operated on this morning. She is reported to be in stable condition.

Speaking from her hospital bed, Yehoshua-Koren said that she remembers “seeing the motorcyclist who apparently threw something in the direction of the car.”

Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said Tuesday, “Investigations are on…it appears that a motorcycle rider, a single person, came from behind. We think the explosion took place within 4-5 seconds of the device being attached.”

“We think it’s likely that a very well-trained person planted the device,” he added. “We think the target was the Israeli diplomat’s wife and therefore we have to assume this was a terror attack.”

Indian officials are viewing the attack as a serious security failure, especially in light of its close proximity to the Indian Prime Minister’s residence.

In Israel, police have increased security at public places, foreign embassies, and Ben-Gurion International Airport. Foreign Ministry officials stated that intelligence and evidence gathered at the blast scene – and at the scene of the thwarted bomb attack on an Israeli diplomat in Georgia – indicate that Iran masterminded the attacks.

Unsurprisingly, Iran has denied any involvement in Monday’s attacks, with Iran’s ambassador to India dismissing Israeli accusations as “nothing but lies.”

In other news, an Iranian man blew off his legs Tuesday in a failed bomb attack in Bangkok.

According to the English-language The Bangkok Post, an Iranian man began the attack by flinging a bomb towards a taxi whose driver refused to accept him as a passenger.

Thai government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisaeng said that police thereafter tried to move in and arrest the man, but not before he attempted to hurl another bomb. The bomb reportedly bounced back in his direction as it detonated, blowing off both his legs. Four other were wounded in the blasts.

Chaisaeng told reporters that these blasts came shortly after there had been an explosion in a house the same man was renting.

“The police have control of the situation. It is thought that the suspect might be storing more explosives inside his house,” Thitima said. She noted that according to an initial police report, the man was an Iranian national.

Hizbollah Terror Suspect Leads Thai Police To Weapons Cache

Monday, January 16th, 2012

A Swedish-Lebanese man suspected of plotting to carry out terrorist attacks led Thai police to a shophouse on the outskirts of Bangkok where they found hundreds of boxes of bomb-making materials.

The man, Attis Hussein, was arrested last Friday on suspicion of being a member of a Hezbollah cell planning to attack tourist sites frequented by Israelis, and was charged by Thai police with possessing illegal substances.

Hussein claimed that “the bomb-making materials were not for terrorist attacks in Thailand, but were intended to be smuggled out of the country,” national police chief Priewpan Damapong said.

Pesach In Thailand

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

                It isn’t often a person from West Bloomfield, Mich., shares a PassoverSeder in Thailand with someone from Sydney, Australia, but that’s exactly what I did this year.

               Newlywed Australian, Rebbecca Saidman, and her husband looked up the nearest Chabad House during their stay in the city of Chiang Mei. “It was really quite incredible and weird to be in Thailand in a place where a Seder was taking place. I have never had a Seder with 350 people,” said Saidman. “The non-judgmental atmosphere, which made everyone feel so welcome, is a huge part of what made this holiday so special for us,” she said.

               This year, the Chabad emissaries in Chiang Mei, Rabbi Moshe Haddad and his family, hosted 350 guests for the first Seder and more than 60 for the second. I was offered the opportunity to come and help.

               Getting to Chiang Mei was an adventure in itself, with stopovers in Germany and Singapore, and finally arriving in Bangkok and the last leg of our journey, a short flight north to the mountain resort.

               I left from New York at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, and arrived at our destination at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Though I came only a day before the festival, there was still plenty of work left to do. One of the major tasks was preparing lettuce for the Seder. Jewish dietary laws forbid eating bugs, and Jewish tradition dictates using lettuce, which can be infested with little white bugs. Lettuce is one of the symbolic foods for the Passover Seder so we had to check more than 2,000 leaves of lettuce to make sure they were bug-free.

               Finally, after a long day of feverish preparations and a Sederthat lasted almost to midnight, we thought we could go to sleep. Then another 20 people showed up who needed a Seder, so we did it all over again. Sleep didn’t become an option until the early hours of the morning.

               There were other adventures and unusual circumstances – some unique to Jewish tradition, some unique to Thailand, and many due to the intersection of cultures.

               This year, Passover and the Thai New Year overlapped, which meant that Jews coming to and from the Chabad House had to navigate their way through Mardi Gras style festivities in the streets. Many of us were doused as revelers happily sprayed each other with water guns during the celebration.

               While we were in Chiang Mei, the King of Thailand’s son decided to take a stroll in the area around the Chabad House. All cars, trucks and tuk tuks – a type of bicycle – were towed away to clear the streets. This happened during Mincha, afternoon prayer service.

                When Chabad guests went outside, they had to search for their bikes. No one understood what had happened. Then it became clear that officials had simply moved everything to the side to clear the area for the prince and his entourage.

               Unfortunately, not everything happening in Thailand these days is so festive. As I left during the intermediate days of Passover, there was rioting in the capital city, Bangkok. Many governments issued warnings to their citizens traveling in Southeast Asia. The Chabad Houses urged visitors to call home and let their families know that they were safe. It is one of the many services Chabad in Thailand has grown accustomed to providing for Jewish travelers. Chana Kroll contributed to this article.

Pesach In Thailand

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

                It isn’t often a person from West Bloomfield, Mich., shares a PassoverSeder in Thailand with someone from Sydney, Australia, but that’s exactly what I did this year.


               Newlywed Australian, Rebbecca Saidman, and her husband looked up the nearest Chabad House during their stay in the city of Chiang Mei. “It was really quite incredible and weird to be in Thailand in a place where a Seder was taking place. I have never had a Seder with 350 people,” said Saidman. “The non-judgmental atmosphere, which made everyone feel so welcome, is a huge part of what made this holiday so special for us,” she said.


               This year, the Chabad emissaries in Chiang Mei, Rabbi Moshe Haddad and his family, hosted 350 guests for the first Seder and more than 60 for the second. I was offered the opportunity to come and help.


               Getting to Chiang Mei was an adventure in itself, with stopovers in Germany and Singapore, and finally arriving in Bangkok and the last leg of our journey, a short flight north to the mountain resort.


               I left from New York at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, and arrived at our destination at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Though I came only a day before the festival, there was still plenty of work left to do. One of the major tasks was preparing lettuce for the Seder. Jewish dietary laws forbid eating bugs, and Jewish tradition dictates using lettuce, which can be infested with little white bugs. Lettuce is one of the symbolic foods for the Passover Seder so we had to check more than 2,000 leaves of lettuce to make sure they were bug-free.


               Finally, after a long day of feverish preparations and a Sederthat lasted almost to midnight, we thought we could go to sleep. Then another 20 people showed up who needed a Seder, so we did it all over again. Sleep didn’t become an option until the early hours of the morning.


               There were other adventures and unusual circumstances – some unique to Jewish tradition, some unique to Thailand, and many due to the intersection of cultures.


               This year, Passover and the Thai New Year overlapped, which meant that Jews coming to and from the Chabad House had to navigate their way through Mardi Gras style festivities in the streets. Many of us were doused as revelers happily sprayed each other with water guns during the celebration.


               While we were in Chiang Mei, the King of Thailand’s son decided to take a stroll in the area around the Chabad House. All cars, trucks and tuk tuks – a type of bicycle – were towed away to clear the streets. This happened during Mincha, afternoon prayer service.


                When Chabad guests went outside, they had to search for their bikes. No one understood what had happened. Then it became clear that officials had simply moved everything to the side to clear the area for the prince and his entourage.


               Unfortunately, not everything happening in Thailand these days is so festive. As I left during the intermediate days of Passover, there was rioting in the capital city, Bangkok. Many governments issued warnings to their citizens traveling in Southeast Asia. The Chabad Houses urged visitors to call home and let their families know that they were safe. It is one of the many services Chabad in Thailand has grown accustomed to providing for Jewish travelers.
 
Chana Kroll contributed to this article.

Chabad In A Dangerous World

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

A few months ago, Channel 8 (Israel’s equivalent of PBS) broadcast a fascinating “reality” program on the life and times of a young Lubavitcher couple that went on shlichut to Vietnam in order to open a Chabad branch in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). During the past few years Vietnam has become a growing destination for both Israeli and American Jewish businessmen, as well as for post- army, backpacking and thrill-seeking young Israelis

The mission highlighted the young couple’s “fish out of water” experience, trying to build an oasis of Judaism under the watchful anti-religious eyes of the Communist regime. In this case, the element of danger wasn’t from Islamic fanatics but from a philosophy that had defeated American military prowess over 35 years earlier.

The dangers associated with opening a Chabad House in Ho Chi Minh City didn’t deter the enthusiastic couple from building a new life in a strange land. Shipments of kosher foodstuffs and religious articles from Eretz Yisrael would cushion the blow of being so far away from a Jewish environment. The young couple and their guests would at least be able to enjoy a heimishe meal cooked by the “rebbetzin,” providing a palate-pleasing reminder of home.

The initial adjustment for the young couple was not easy – but Chabadniks persevere. There are no such words as “giving up” in the Chabad dictionary.

In order to stretch their kosher food without always relying on the parcel from Israel, the young couple made their way through the aisles of local supermarkets searching high and low for products bearing a legitimate hechsher (kosher certification). At the local fish market the young rabbi diligently checked various species of fish, looking for the telltale kosher signs of fins and scales.

All in all, a great story about how adventurous young Chabad couples are willing to go anywhere on the planet in order to perform the mitzvot of hachnasat orchim and kiruv rechokim.

No one but Chabad has worked so diligently to provide a way station for Jews on and off the derech. Tens of thousands of secular Israelis have had their pintele yid rekindled by a simple act of kindness performed by smiling young Chabad couples that are always available with an open door policy. These couples represent the essence of what Yiddishkeit is all about.

Unfortunately the world has become a dangerous place – even for friendly Chabadnikim. Jewish businessmen and Israeli adventure-seekers need to start rethinking about where to do business and how to keep an extremely low profile when trekking through Third World countries.

As we went to press, Israeli security personnel warned Chabad officials in Israel and the U.S. to start revamping their global operations. The Israeli officials instructed Chabad to lower their profiles in countries where the dangers of terror attacks are high, and hire armed security guards to provide around-the-clock protection for each Chabad House. (There are at least two other Chabad Houses in India, scene of last week’s terror attack. One is in New Delhi and the other in Goa, the coastal  “Pearl of the Orient,” where so many young Israelis tend to enjoy running amok, i.e. drug use, illicit behavior and, tragically, acts of avodah zarah.)

On many occasions, Chabad officials in places like Goa are either working hard to lure Israelis away from toxic substances or getting them out of jail. They will do almost anything to rescue a meandering neshamah.

Israeli entrepreneurs trying to make a quick buck from the thousands of Hebrew-speaking “landsman” who visit Goa and Bangkok, Thailand have opened stores featuring large Hebrew-language signs. Thailand, already enmeshed in political anarchy, is also trying to beat back an armed Islamic insurrection in one of its provinces. It is likely that the Thai Islamists will try to copy the Mumbai massacre on some scale in the near future – sowing fear and hatred.

The Jewish people tend to sometimes forget that they are in the midst of a global jihad, where interlocking Islamic terror groups are constantly monitoring our activities. One day it can be Al Qaeda in lower Manhattan, another day it could be Hizbullah in Argentina, a Pakistani terror group in Mumbai, Hamas in Jerusalem It’s a never-ending list.

The mitzvah to enjoy life and experience the wonders of the world must also be balanced out against the inherent dangers that lurk just around the corner. There will always be a need for a Chabad oasis somewhere in the world. The blessing of their holy work must be buttressed by physical as well as spiritual security.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community//2008/12/03/

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