AN emotionally charged birthday party was held for Hamas hostage Emily Hand, who turned nine while held captive in Gaza.
Cakes were laid out on a table on what should have been one of the happiest days of the Irish-Israeli child’s life.
There were bright-coloured balloons but party food sat uneaten on the empty seats in a powerful appeal for Emily Hands and all the hostages to be freed from captivity in Gaza[/caption]
Relative Anna Byrne said: ‘The whole family is so thankful to the organisers for keeping Emily in everybody’s hearts and minds’[/caption]
Instead, 50 members of the Israeli community gathered at a solemn vigil in London to celebrate the schoolgirl’s birthday in her absence.
There were bright-coloured balloons but party food sat uneaten on the empty seats in a powerful appeal for the hostages to be freed.
Children’s birthday music played through speakers, accompanied with chilling audio from Hamas’s October 7 terror operation — of militants shouting in Arabic and the sound of gunfire and kids screaming.
Forty plates sat on the table on a street near Trafalgar Square — each symbolising an innocent child held captive by terrorists.
Cupcakes were handed out by teary-eyed organisers and birthday invitations had a photo of little Emily’s face. Yellow ribbons were handed to passers-by, with tourists stopping to look at birthday banners and kids’ teddies.
Israeli graffiti artist Benzi Brofman painted a beautiful picture of her.
Emily was abducted from the kibbutz she was living at. Last night, her cousin Suzie Golding, 43, thanked the public for their support.
She told The Sun: “This gives us hope. Emily’s name and face are at the forefront of so many people’s thoughts. I want people to keep Emily in their thoughts and prayers. She is an innocent child and has nothing to do with the conflict.”
Yesterday’s event was organised by Hostages and Missing Families Forum UK and the Israeli Embassy. One of the organisers, Florit Shoihet, said: “Many Israelis and Jews in the world feel that the events of October 7 were not taken seriously enough. Many organisations are remarkably quiet.
“It was a massacre. Thousands were targeted, kids were beheaded, burnt alive in front of their parents.
“The world has quickly forgotten what happened.”
Peter Walsh, of Save The Children, attended the event and said: “We want the hostages released immediately and unconditionally.”
Meanwhile, in Dublin, Emily’s family held a similar gathering. Relative Anna Byrne said: “The whole family is so thankful to the organisers for keeping Emily in everybody’s hearts and minds.”