Israeli peace activist believed to be held hostage is confirmed dead

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Israeli peace activist believed to be held hostage is confirmed dead

Almost five weeks after the 7 October atrocities, forensic specialists prove that 74-year-old Vivian Silver was among the 131 people slaughtered on Kibbutz Be’eri

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Pic: Canadian-born Israeli activist Vivian Silver (Courtesy) Times of Israel
Pic: Canadian-born Israeli activist Vivian Silver (Courtesy) Times of Israel

Almost five weeks after the Hamas massacres that swept through southern Israel, the well-known peace activist Vivian Silver has been identified as one of the Israelis murdered.

Her long-time friend and colleague John Lyndon, executive director at the Alliance for Middle East Peace, which the 74-year-old Israeli-Canadian helped to found, described her as “the best of us”.

For weeks since the 7 October attacks, Silver’s family and friends believed her to be among the hostages taken to Gaza by Hamas. However, after forensic sifting through ashes and remains at Kibbutz Be’eri, where 130 people were killed, DNA testing proved that Vivian Silver was the 131st person to die on the kibbutz.

She was involved in a number of peace initiatives including the organisation Women Wage Peace, whose international supporters she hosted only days before the Hamas attacks. Another project, The Road to Recovery, focused on driving sick Palestinians from Gaza to Israeli hospitals.

When the terrorists arrived at the kibbutz, Silver was on the phone to one of her sons, Yonatan Zeigen. He heard gunshots outside his mother’s window and told her to hang up and be quiet. Instead they texted until 11 am on that Saturday, around five hours after the incursion had begun. Hiding inside a cupboard, Silver wrote: “They’re inside the house, it’s time to stop joking and say goodbye.”

Zeigen told the BBC that he had replied: “I love you, Mum. I have no words, I’m with you.” In what was to be her last message, she wrote: “I feel you.”

Peace activists who worked with Silver have paid tribute to a singular woman. John Lyndon vowed: “The people who killed Vivian — a 74 year old woman who spent her entire life working for peace, equality, justice and dignity — will not win”.

Anat Saragusti, a feminist activist, described her friend as “a woman of compassion and humanity, with an endless, deep and ongoing commitment to Jewish-Arab partnership and peace.”

Hannah Weisfeld, the director of Yachad UK, wrote on Twitter/X: “Those who murdered Vivian wanted to destroy any hope of a decent future for Israelis and Palestinians. I hope her life will be avenged by peace. That would be a true testament to her legacy.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: