Her family initially believed Vivian Silver, 74, a well-known Canadian-Israeli peace activist, had been kidnapped and was being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza – Her relatives’ hopes were dashed on Tuesday when Israeli authorities told them that her remains were found and identified
Hundreds of people, relatives and friends, Israelis and Arabs, gathered in Gezer today to honor the memory of an “outside the box” and “bearer of hope” woman who was killed in the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.
Her family initially believed Vivian Silver, 74, a well-known Canadian-Israeli peace activist, had been kidnapped and was being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. Her relatives’ hopes were dashed on Tuesday when Israeli authorities told them her remains had been found and identified.
In the 1970s Silver lived in Kibbutz Gezer in central Israel but then moved to Beeri, near the Gaza Strip. She was a founding member of the Women Wage Peace movement that promoted peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
“It wasn’t just me who was orphaned, so were your many friends, the country you adopted at a young age and a movement, the peace movement,” her son, Jonathan Zeigen, said at the outdoor ceremony.
According to the estimates of the Israeli authorities, about 1,200 people were killed and another 240 were kidnapped by Hamas on 7 October.
The kibbutz where Silver lived is a non-religious, left-leaning community founded in 1946 as a collective farm. Like many of its residents, Silver had Palestinian and Arab friends, one of whom, Ghadir Hani, spoke at the ceremony today and revealed they were exchanging messages with each other even as Hamas gunmen stormed the community.
“You told me you were fine, but you were hearing sounds outside the shelter window… Minutes passed and the next few messages I sent I got no response,” Hani said with tears in her eyes.
Silver often picked up patients from Gaza who had been cleared to leave the enclave and transported them for treatment in Israeli hospitals. Her movement, the WWP, emphasized that she was a pillar of it and was pressing the Israeli government to seek a political solution to its years-long conflict with the Palestinians.
Honey vowed to continue Silver’s work. “We all promised that we would continue on the path he laid out. If he was here with us he would tell us not to lose hope and to continue what we all started together. No one can bury her vision of peace,” he added.
In today’s crowd one could make out Orthodox Jews, Bedouins, women in headscarves and many others dressed in white, with WWP’s signature blue band.
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