In a distressing turn of events, Vivian Silver, a 74-year-old Canadian-Israeli peace activist. She is believed to be among the civilian hostages held by Hamas following a coordinated weekend attack on Israeli soil. Her son received her last message, which ominously stated, “They’re inside the house,” . As Hamas gunmen closed in on her home near Israel’s Gaza border.
Vivian Silver has devoted her life to advocating for peace and human rights for Palestinians. Particularly those residing in the impoverished Gaza Strip. She originally hails from Winnipeg but moved to Israel in the 1970s, where she became an unwavering campaigner for various aid organizations, including Women Wage Peace.
One of her most notable endeavors was organizing a peace march on the shores of the Jordan River in the West Bank in 2017. During this event, she emphasized the need to shift away from the long-held belief that war is the only path to peace, stating, “We don’t believe that anymore, it’s been proven that it’s not true.”
Even in her 70s, Silver continued to provide transportation for sick Palestinians from Gaza to Israeli hospitals, reflecting her dedication to humanitarian causes.
Silver’s son, Yonatan Zeigen
He resides in Tel Aviv with his family, had planned to visit his mother over the weekend but decided against it due to escalating tensions. He frantically tried to reach her as reports of the attack emerged, eventually hearing gunshots and yelling outside her window. Their WhatsApp communication ceased abruptly when she messaged him, “They’re inside the house,” and his subsequent messages remained unanswered.
Hamas, in response to intense Israeli airstrikes on civilian areas, issued a threat through Abu Obeida, the spokesman of the Qassam Brigades. Obeida warned that any targeting of their people in their homes without prior warning would result in the execution of one of the civilian hostages they held.
The situation escalated further when Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “complete siege” on Gaza, including a blockade on essential supplies such as food, electricity, and fuel. Israeli rockets rained down on the densely populated Palestinian enclave, home to two million civilians, half of whom are under the age of 19.
Speaking from Gaza, Palestinian Aziz Elkahlout expressed his anguish over the Israeli airstrikes, which he claimed were hitting civilian targets without warning, resulting in casualties and the destruction of local markets. He emphasized the importance of distinguishing between terrorists and ordinary people among Gaza’s population and called for finding a peaceful way to coexist.
Despite the harrowing circumstances, Vivian Silver’s message of hope and her unwavering commitment to peace persist. Her life’s work serves as a reminder that even in times of conflict, the pursuit of reconciliation and a better world remains essential.