Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, ThailandIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The 12-year-old Israeli boy sent to live in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand must be returned home, Dr. Yitzchak Kadmon of the Israeli National Council for the Child said Wednesday.

The child was discovered living in Thailand by Israeli tourists in the country. He was sent there by his parents, who believe that the Buddhist monks living there give him “life energy” that helps keep his cancer at bay.

“A 12-year-old child cannot be sent to a country so far away, cut off from his family and friends,” Kadmon told Army Radio (Galei Tzahal).

“I’m not getting into the medical debate, but if his parents want him to undergo meditation, that can be done here,” he continued. “Or his family could go live with him there.”

The Ministry for Social Services must get a court order to bring the boy back to Israel, Kadmon said. “The State of Israel has responsibility for its children even if they live in a far-off land.”

“A child is not his parent’s property in the sense that the parent can do what they want with the child,” Kadmon added. “The child is a person, too, and his opinion, his health and welfare need to be taken into consideration.”

When asked if he wanted to be taken home, the boy living in Thailand said, “I told everyone already – it’s fine. I’m used to it.” However, he indicated he would prefer to return home.

When asked for a response to her son’s comments, his mother said, “When he’s 18 he’ll decide what he wants to do.”