Emily was taken hostage in the October 7 attack by Hamas.

Special things

  • Hamas also released nine-year-old Emily Hand as part of a hostage deal.
  • Ireland's PM said that "prayers were answered"
  • Use of used words in PM's comments creates uproar on social media
Tel Aviv:

Hamas also released a nine-year-old girl, Emily Hand, who was among the 17 hostages to be released on Saturday as part of a hostage deal with Israel. Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar expressed his gratitude on Sunday for Emily's release, saying her "prayers have been answered." Emily was sleeping at a friend's house in Kibbutz Berry when she was kidnapped.

Varadkar wrote in his post on X, "This is a day of great joy and relief for Emily Hand and her family. An innocent child who was lost has now been found and back and we have breathed a sigh of relief. Our prayers have been answered."

This is a day of enormous joy and relief for Emily Hand and her family. An innocent child who was lost has now been found and returned, and we breathe a massive sigh of relief. Our prayers have been answered.

— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) November 25, 2023

However, the use of the words used in his comments has caused an uproar on social media.

Israeli government spokesman Elon Levy criticised Varadkar for his remarks and said Emily was "brutally kidnapped" and released not by any prayer but by "pressure from the Israeli military".

Levy wrote in a post on X, "Emily Hand was not "lost". He was brutally kidnapped by the death squads who killed his neighbours. She wasn't "found". Hamas knew where she was and they reprehensiblely took her hostage and Hamas did not answer your prayers. He responded to Israeli military pressure," he said.

This is how you describe a little girl who went missing during a stroll in a forest, then gets discovered by a friendly hiker. Not a girl brutally abducted by death squads that brutally massacred her neighbors. But this explains the extent of Ireland's contribution: prayers. https://t.co/tewkG4WhqZ

— Aylon Levy (@EylonALevy) November 25, 2023

Emily would still be hostage without military pressure: Levin

"Without Israel's military pressure on Hamas, which Ireland shamefully called "something like revenge", Emily Hand would still be a hostage to Hamas. It is not that Hamas was "blind, but now he sees" (if this statement is a sign of wonderful grace).

Levin slams Varadkar for posting

Levin took a dig at Varadkar for "the extent of Ireland's contribution". "You describe a little girl who went missing while walking in the forest and was then discovered by a friendly traveller. Not a girl brutally kidnapped by death squads who brutally murdered her neighbors, but it makes clear the extent of Ireland's contribution: prayers."

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of the woman released by Israel Under the ceasefire agreement with Israel, Hamas released another group of 17 hostages
Watch: 9-year-old boy released from Hamas captivity as he rejoices as he meets his father