July 15, 2024

Vivian Silver, 74, had moved to Israel to advocate for peace, according to her family.

Vivian Silver, a Canadian-Israeli peace activist who went missing during Hamas’s October 7 attacks on Israel, has been confirmed dead, her family have told Canadian media.

Silver, 74, was killed in the Palestinian armed group’s initial attacks on southern Israeli communities, Silver’s son, Yonatan Zeigen, told CBC News and CTV News on Monday.

He said his mother’s remains had been found earlier but were only identified more than five weeks after the attacks.

Silver, the founder of Women Wage Peace and the Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation, had been living in Kibbutz Be’eri, near Gaza, after relocating from Winnipeg in the early 1970s.

In an article earlier this month, the Washington Post described Silver as having spent “her entire adult life denouncing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, lobbying for diplomatic solutions to the conflict, ferrying children from Gaza to Israeli hospitals”.

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly described Silver as a “proud Israeli-Canadian and lifelong advocate for peace”.

“I met her son in Tel Aviv, and he described her as kind, generous, and selfless,” Joly said on X, formerly Twitter. “Canada mourns her loss with him and her loved ones.”

John Lyndon, the executive director of the Washington, DC-based Alliance for Middle East Peace, said Silver had wanted Gaza to be “free and at peace”.

“Rest in power, Vivian,” he said on X.

The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg said it was “devastated” to learn of Silver’s death.

“Vivian was a civilian brutally taken from her home, and now we know, from all of us, forever,” the group said on Facebook.

“She was a renowned pacifist who tirelessly advocated for peace and the improvement of the quality of life for Palestinians. We are with heavy hearts as we learn of the impact of Hamas’ terrorist attack and as time passes, to learn of the identity of those massacred in Israel.”

Hamas killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took about 240 others captive during the worst attack on Israel in decades, according to Israeli officials.

On Monday, Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, said the armed group was prepared to release up to 70 women and children held in Gaza in return for a five-day truce, but that Israel was “procrastinating and evading” on the terms of a deal.

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