Vivian Silver, a peace advocate originally from Canada, was confirmed to have been killed after initial reports indicated she had been abducted during the Hamas attacks on October 7.
On Tuesday, Idit Shamir, the consul general of Israel in Toronto, issued a statement confirming that a 74-year-old individual was killed by Hamas during an attack on Kibbutz Be’eri in southern Israel.
Shamir expressed his condolences to her loved ones and friends, and hopes that her memory will be a source of comfort.
Mélanie Joly, the minister of foreign affairs, praised Silver as a “lifelong advocate for peace” adding in a statement that family described the widow and grandmother of four as “kind, generous, and selfless”.
At first, Silver’s relatives and Israeli authorities thought she had been abducted and was being kept in Gaza. However, her family received news of her passing on Monday.
Yonatan Zeigen, speaking on Israel Radio, described his mother as both delicate and emotionally perceptive, yet also possessing a powerful and assertive nature. He noted her immense inner strength and unwavering convictions about the world and existence.
Silver, who was born in Winnipeg, immigrated to Israel in the 1974 and spent decades working for peace in the region. She co-founded Women Wage Peace in 2014, working on humanitarian projects in Gaza and the West Bank. She also served on the board of directors for B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization.
At a rally for Women Wage Peace, she stated that a political solution is necessary for moving forward. She also expressed that constant acts of war and violence, resulting in death and suffering, cannot be accepted. She called upon women in Gaza to join their cause and urge their leaders to put an end to terror, as it brings no benefits and everyone deserves peace and safety.
On October 7th, while under attack, Silver contacted individuals from Women Wage Peace and informed them that armed individuals had entered her residence and she was seeking shelter in a secure location.
The house she lived in was destroyed by fire, but her body was not immediately discovered. This led authorities to believe that she was among the 200 or more individuals held captive by the extremist organization in Gaza.
The intensity and severity of the assault have made it difficult to identify the remains, causing a heartbreaking delay for families whose loved ones are still unaccounted for.
On Tuesday, Women Wage Peace honored their founding member in a post.
“Vivian, with your intelligence and sophisticated sense of humor, you served as our inspiration and courageous leader towards peace. We will not stop until we reach the goal that you devoted your life to. In both your life and your passing, you leave us with the gift of peace.”