CityNews – Yuval Waks, Deputy Chief of Mission, Political & Public Affairs, Embassy of Israel Bangkok, visited Chiang Mai and Payap Universities earlier this month as part of the embassy’s campaign to educate and raise awareness about the holocaust and anti-Semitism amongst Thai students.
“We regularly visit universities around Thailand, mostly to do movie screenings, as often this subject is completely foreign to Thai students as its not taught in school here, so the movie, we have found, is a great medium to communicate such a grave subject,” said Waks.
“In Cambodia people can relate to our history a lot more because they have been through it, but Thai students don’t know much about the European part of the Second World War,” Waks explained. “I am not surprised, as if you ask Israeli students about the Cambodian genocide, they don’t know much about it either.”
“Today we showed Life is Beautiful, an Italian comedy-drama about a Jewish Italian book shop owner, who uses his imagination to shield his son from the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp. We have also shown Schindler’s List, The Pianist and other movies in the past and will continue to do so.”
Waks talked about the role of the embassy, explaining that it is very active in sending influential Thai people to Israel to join various courses and seminars, collaborating in numerous areas on matters ranging from Israel’s long famous agricultural innovation and leadership to its more modern phenomenon of start-up success.
“We also often bring in people such as doctors, entertainers and educators to Thailand, and are actively promoting the exchange of knowledge between our two countries.”
Waks says that there is approximately one billion dollars in trade each year between the two countries which is expected to double by 2020.
“What we are really excited about now is to share in the success of our start-up programmes,” said Waks. With Thailand talking about a Thailand 4.0 future, we can really show the Thai government how it can use start-ups to transform a country.”
200,000 Israeli tourists come to Thailand each year, and while many are young travellers coming to relax after the mandatory two to three years in the army, according to TAT Israelis are the biggest spenders in Thailand per head than any other nation.