Korean kids on program in Israel left abandoned

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Korean kids on program in Israel left abandoned

About 70 Korean children were found abandoned in an Israeli kibbutz, according to a report there.

The incident, which happened last week, is raising concern among parents who are considering sending their children to programs overseas.

Locals found the children, aged 7 to 9, wandering in several groups around areas near the desert and seeking water, food and a place to sleep, the newspaper Maariv reported.

The locals fed the children and provided sleeping arrangements before reporting the case to the Korean Embassy in Israel, it said.

The paper said the children had been sent to Israel as part of a pilgrimage education program run by a Korean company, but the group ran into trouble because of mismanagement by the program’s operator.

The paper reported that the children came to Israel via Jordan and arrived at the kibbutz by bus. The Korean children’s guide, who had only provided them with camping equipment and basic necessities, sent them off on their own, saying they would be welcomed at any kibbutz.

A kibbutz official told the newspaper that it is incomprehensible how the Korean children could have been delivered to the area under the care of guides who knew neither English nor Hebrew.

A government source confirmed the case. A travel agency the children used for the program denied responsibility, saying it was only in charge of buying plane tickets for them.

By Chun Su-jin [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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