Kay Burley Responds To Backlash After Israeli Spokesperson Criticises 'Outrageous' Question

Eylon Levy said the interview question left him "flabbergasted".
Kay Burley clashed with Israel's government spokesperson on Sky News on Thursday
Kay Burley clashed with Israel's government spokesperson on Sky News on Thursday
Sky News

Kay Burley has responded after a social media backlash to her interview with an Israeli government spokesperson, who called her line of questioning “outrageous”.

The Sky News presenter was criticised after she asked Eylon Levy what he thought of a claim – previously made by a hostage negotiator – that Israel did not value Palestinian lives as highly as Israeli lives.

Their spiky exchange came shortly after Israel and Hamas confirmed they had agreed to a four-day ceasefire and hostage release, which started on Friday morning.

Hamas promised to release 50 of its roughly 240 hostages in exchange for 150 of 8,300 Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israeli jails.

Levy later posted the Sky News interview clip on social media, along with the caption: “The first question that left me speechless (but only for a second).”

Levy went viral for his facial expression – he raised his eyebrows and widened his eyes – and reposted the footage a few times on his X account (formerly Twitter), making a screenshot of the conversation the banner on his page.

The tense exchange began when Burley said: “I was speaking to a hostage negotiator this morning, and he made the comparison between the 50 hostages that Hamas has promised to release, as opposed to the 150 Palestinian prisoners that Israel has said it will release.

“And he made the comparison between the numbers, and the fact that does Israel not think that Palestinian lives are valued as highly as Israeli lives?”

Levy looked shocked, and replied: “That is an astonishing accusation. If we could release one prisoner for every one hostage, we would obviously do that.

“We’re operating in horrific circumstances. We’re not choosing to release these prisoners who have blood on their hands – we’re talking about people who have been convicted of stabbing and shooting attacks.

“Notice the question of proportionality doesn’t interest Palestinian supporters when they’re able to get more of their prisoners out.

“But really, it’s outrageous to suggest that we are willing to release prisoners who are convicted of terrorism offences, more of them than we are getting our own children back, somehow suggests that we don’t care about Palestinian lives.

“Really, that’s a disgusting accusation.”

Levy’s clip from the exchange ramped up more than 13 million views in less than 24 hours.

He later went on GB News to say it was not his job to “give a telling off to specific media outlets”, but claimed “Israel has not been given a fair shake in this conflict”.

He also admitted the Sky News interview particularly “flabbergasted” him.

The following morning on Friday, Burley responded on X and appeared to be alluding to the controversial incident. She wrote: “We often put one side of an argument to a guest so they can offer a counterclaim.

“Yesterday, I raised a controversial view from an earlier guest to allow another to respond.

“Each morning, we’re dedicated to presenting fairly the news of this war #IsraelHamasWar.”

The Israel-Hamas war began when Palestinian militants killed 1,200 people in Israel and abducted another estimated 240 on October 7.

Israel responded with a siege, a series of air strikes and a ground invasion. According to statistics repeated by the UN, more than 14,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began.

There are hopes that if the temporary ceasefire holds for four days, more hostages could be released.

However, Levy also told the BBC on Thursday that Israel’s war in Gaza will continue even if Hamas releases all of the hostages it is currently holding as the conflict “has to end with the end of Hamas”.


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