A friend of the Israeli-Canadian peace activist whose death was just confirmed by Hamas on October 7 says she fears her friend was burned alive, because “there is almost nothing left of her.”
“She wasn’t murdered, she was massacred,” spiritual counselor and author Susan Lax told The Post on Friday about her late friend, 74-year-old Vivian Silver.
Hamas was initially believed to have taken Silver hostage when the terrorist group stormed his home in Kibbutz Be’eri, southern Israel, on October 7.
Then on Monday, officials announced that Silver’s remains had been identified among those recovered from the destroyed community.
“She probably burned to death. …There is almost nothing left of her,” Lax, 65, lamented.
Lax, who is Jewish and lives between Tel Aviv and New York City, said she has never witnessed anything like the unique horrors of the war between Israel and Hamas that has raged for 41 days.
Vivian Silver, who once helped Palestinians receive proper medical care in Israel, “probably burned to death” on October 7, a friend said.
“I have lived through wars in Israel and terrorist attacks… and I have never experienced this,” she said emotionally.
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“I don’t think we can process it while there are more than 240 hostages sitting in the dark tunnels of Gaza and they haven’t seen the light for 40 days,” he added.
On Friday morning, Lax attended a birthday memorial for Emily Hand, a hostage who celebrated nine years in captivity on Friday, outside the home of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in New York.
“We had a cake and we were holding balloons, and we hoped that when she came back, she would see this and know that she was not forgotten,” Lax explained of the touching event.
A crowd gathers at Silver’s memorial service in Tel Gezer, Israel, on Thursday.Getty Images
Lax also attended a rally in honor of all the hostages outside Guterres’ residence last week.
Like Silver, Lax identifies as a peace activist, but admitted she is struggling in the face of anti-Israel protest in response to the country’s retaliatory bombing of the Gaza Strip.
“It is very painful to see so much hatred and evil towards Israel, towards Israelis. It has become a Jew-hating movement,” he told The Post.
“I have been fighting for a Palestinian state for as long as I can remember. …Where was everyone then? he continued, referring to pro-Palestinian protesters who make demands at the expense of Israeli statehood.
Mourners embrace at Silver’s emotional memorial service.Getty Images
“These people are shouting things to erase Israel, to erase my people.”
She is also disappointed by more official responses, including from the UN.
“How come the UN does not condemn this? How can they be silent? It is inconceivable,” Lax said of Guterres’s middle-of-the-road stance on the conflict.
“We went to Gaza to protect our country. “No other country in the world would sit with terrorists at the door,” he insisted.
“The calls for a ceasefire [in Gaza] “It became stronger than the calls to condemn the massacre, and that is where I had a hard time.”
A woman plays a flute as members of Women Wage Peace sing together at the Silver service.Getty Images
After decades of working for peace in the region, Lax said, she is deeply saddened by the civilian deaths in Gaza.
“No child, no person, not in Gaza, should suffer because of evil and hatred. But I question what [Israel] should do. …Should we let it happen again? he said, referring to the threat of another Hamas incursion.
“It’s not about freedom, it’s not about justice and peace, it’s about evil and hate.”
Lax also lamented that Silver, who dedicated his time to helping Palestinians in Gaza receive proper medical care in Israel, should “end his life that way.”
She added that her own mother-in-law was an Auschwitz survivor and that her parents’ families were murdered in the Holocaust.
“Today we know what happens when people remain silent,” he said.
Protesters hold photographs of those believed to be held hostage by Hamas.AP
“People will forget that these precious souls [such as Vivian Silver] “They were massacred.”
Lax will travel to Tel Aviv next week, he told The Post. He has not been to Israel since the war began.
“I know it doesn’t make sense [to go back],” she said.
But “there’s something… I need to be there,” he said. “I have a family there and I have to hug them. I have a company there and I must embrace my employees.”
Lax is co-owner of an Israeli shoe company based in the north of the country, he explained.
Although most of the area has been evacuated due to threats from Hezbollah in Lebanon, he said his employees still go to work at the factory.
“Our shoes are shoes of peace, people of all religions work together, that is what is possible,” he said.
“Find a way to give the Palestinians the state they so richly deserve, so we can live side by side.”
The company has sent thousands of shoes to the more than 500,000 Israelis who have been displaced by evacuations, he said.
“No one talks about them,” he said sadly.
Despite the daily struggle in wartime, Lax said he still has hope for the future.
“I am not a politician, I am a peace activist and I believe that there are moments of light every day,” she said.
“I’m a grandmother and a mother, and when my 11-year-old granddaughter asked my daughter, ‘Why does everyone hate us so much?’, my daughter looked at her and said, ‘Because they don’t know us.’ , and they don’t know that we want peace in this world.’”
Some people have asked her if she is afraid or worried about being attacked when she speaks Hebrew in public.
“I’m not afraid anywhere,” Lax said. “No one will scare me.”