Canadian peace activist confirmed killed in Oct. 7 Hamas attack
Posted November 13, 2023 7:38 pm.
Last Updated November 14, 2023 5:42 am.
A Canadian peace activist believed to have been taken hostage during the Hamas attack in Israel five weeks ago is dead, her son says.
Vivian Silver’s son Chen Zeigen says Israeli authorities told him the remains of the 74-year-old woman had earlier been found in the kibbutz where she lived but were only identified now.
Zeigen told reporters in Ottawa last month that his mother was born in Winnipeg and moved to Israel in 1974.
He said she dedicated her life to peacebuilding and fostering understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.
Silver also volunteered to help children in Gaza access medical care in Israel.
Global Affairs Canada says officials are in contact with Silver’s Canadian family members and are providing assistance.
“It is with deep sadness that the Government of Canada has learned that Canadian-Israeli citizen Vivian Silver is deceased,” Global Affairs said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.”
The department previously confirmed six Canadian citizens died in the Oct. 7 attack, as well as a seventh person with deep ties to Canada, who was not a citizen.
“Indeed we can confirm her body was identified,” a spokeswoman for the Israeli Embassy in Ottawa wrote late Monday.
Israel’s consul general in Toronto, Idit Shamir, said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that Silver has been confirmed dead.
Women Wage Peace, an organization Silver worked with, also posted about her death on X.
Silver’s home on Kibbutz Be’eri near the Gaza border was raided by Hamas militants as part of the attack, which Israel’s Foreign Ministry said killed roughly 1,200 people.
Silver’s son Yonatan Zeigen told reporters last month he had received information that she was taken hostage in Gaza and her phone was geolocated in Gaza.
He recounted last month during a Zoom news conference organized by the Jerusalem Press Club a phone call with his mother the day of the attack.
He said he and his mother had heard news of an incursion by Hamas into Israel from the Gaza Strip. They were joking around on the phone until confusion set in.
“We thought the next minute, it’s going to end — but it didn’t,” he said.
“We couldn’t grasp the incapability of the Israeli army to defend the civilians … we started to say goodbye because we realized this is probably our last words to each other.”
He said the two shifted their conversations to text messages to allow her to stay silent, and someone broke into her home. They said they loved one another before the messages stopped coming.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly called Silver 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 wrote on X. “Canada mourns her loss with him and her loved ones.”
Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew also posted on X to express condolences.
“I’m saddened to learn of the murder of Vivian Silver by Hamas,” Kinew wrote. “My thoughts are with her family and our community here in Manitoba and in Israel. Her memory and her pursuit of peace is a bright light we will carry in our hearts during these dark times.”