Last night we heard the devastating news that Vivian Silver was murdered on October 7th, and was not among the hostages in Gaza. It is heartbreaking.
Vivian and I were both members of Women Wage Peace. She wasn’t a natural leader in the conventional sense, instead, she led by example, modest and unassuming and we all loved and admired her. Everyone trusted her, if she said something, it was unquestionably true. She knew everything about activism, peace movements, and social change, and this wealth of knowledge was rare. We were lucky that she willingly shared her wisdom and experience, and she did it gracefully.
Vivian was not much older than me, but I always regarded her as my mentor, and whenever in doubt, I asked her advice. She always had time to answer, to offer encouragement and motivation. Reviewing our correspondence throughout the years, most of the texts centered around issues related to Women Wage Peace. The core members of our movement are deeply committed, though at times, frustration over our inability to affect significant change got to us. Vivian had no patience for that.
In our WhatsApp conversations, she often expressed the hope that we would channel our energy toward the cause. Some of her messages were very specific: “If we all could just look at how unique each one of us is as opposed to going for each other’s throat…” When I responded that it was hard, Vivian responded sharply: “What a huge waste of energy that could be moving us forward more constructively.”
In the past when there were troubles in the south, I texted Vivian to check on her. But Saturday, October 7th at 8:55 was totally different. When I asked how she was, instead of her usual reassurance, she shared the information she received: “There are injuries in the kibbutz; stay locked in the safe room.” She added, “I am locked in the safe room, sitting on the floor. There are casualties in Reim. There are still screams and gunshots outside.” That was the last I heard from her; after 11 am she was not seen on WhatsApp.
Vivian deeply cared for the movement and was a great friend to many women of all ages. But I feel that for her, the movement was a means to an end, not the ultimate goal. She was troubled when personal grievances and egos obscured our mission: a diplomatic agreement with the Palestinians that will improve life for everyone in our region. I would like to think that even after the massacre on October 7th Vivian would like us to never lose hope and keep on working toward true peace.
After such heartache, please bring the hostages back now