Israel Stories:
The Fallen Canadians
of October 7th

Vivian Silver

74, Kibbutz Be'eri

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Vivian Silver was a Canadian- Israeli peace activist and women's rights activist , who dedicated her life to social justice causes.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, Vivian spent her junior year abroad at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1968, studying psychology and English literature. Upon her return to Canada, she decided she would make her home in Israel.

Vivian is the mother of two sons, Chen and Yonatan, and three grandchildren. She had been a kibbutz member for almost 45 years, the last 28 of which were spent on Kibbutz Beeri, bordering the Gaza Strip.

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In 1998 , Vivian became the Executive Director of the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development in Beer Sheva, an NGO promoting human sustainable development , shared society between Jews and Arabs and peace in the Middle East . In this role, she worked with Palestinian organizations on joint people-to-people projects and focused on empowerment projects in the Bedouin community in the Negev.

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Vivian’s life on the kibbutz was characterized by numerous roles including promoting gender equality in the kibbutz movement, supporting social justice issues and organizations that promoted religious pluralism, civil rights, shared society between Jews and Arabs, and more.

As Vivian wrote about herself , “I was destined to be a social change and peace activist.”

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On October 7th , when Hamas terrorists infiltrated kibbutz Be’eri, Vivian was hiding in her safe room , where she communicated with family and friends before she was murdered. For more than a month, she was declared missing, until November 14 , when her family confirmed that her remains had been identified via DNA.

Her last message was with her son Yonatan Zeigen, where she wrote to him, “They’re inside the house, it’s time to stop joking and say goodbye.” Yonatan replied, “I love you, Mom. I have no words, I’m with you.” To which Vivian responded, “I feel you.”

Vivian was always persistent in the pursuit of peace and justice. She was a lifelong feminist, a committed activist, a fearless leader, an exceptional friend, and a loving mother, wife, and grandmother.

May her memory be a blessing.