NEWS: Pal fears slain Israeli peace activist Vivian Silva must have burned to death
A friend of the Canadian Israeli peace activist who was just confirmed killed by Hamas on Oct. 7 says she fears her pal was burned to death — because “there’s almost nothing left of her.”
“She wasn’t killed, she was slaughtered,” spiritual counselor and author Susan Lax told The Post on Friday of her late friend, 74-year-old Vivian Silver.
Silver was initially believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas when the terror group stormed her home at Kibbutz Be’eri in southern Israel on Oct. 7.
Then Monday, officials announced that Silver’s remains had been identified among those recovered from the destroyed community.
“She was probably burned to death. … There’s 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 Israel-Hamas war that has been raging for 41 days.
“I have lived through wars in Israel and terrorist attacks … and I have never experienced this,” she said emotionally.
“I don’t think that we can process it as long as there are 240-plus hostages who are sitting in the dark tunnels in Gaza and they have not seen light for 40 days,” she added.
On Friday morning, Lax attended a birthday tribute in honor of Emily Hand, a hostage who turned 9 years old in captivity Friday, outside the New York City home of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
“We had a cake and held balloons, and we wished for when she comes back, she will see this and know she was not forgotten,” Lax explained of the moving event.
As with Silver, Lax identifies as a peace activist — but admitted that she is struggling in the face of the anti-Israel outcry in response to the country’s retaliatory bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
“It’s so painful to see such hatred and evil towards Israel, towards Israelis. It’s turned into a Jew-hatred movement,” she told The Post.
“I have been fighting for a Palestinian state since I can remember. … Where was everybody then?” she continued, referring to pro-Palestinian protesters making demands at the expense of Israeli statehood.
“These people are screaming things to erase Israel, to erase my people.”
She is also let down by more official responses, including that of the UN.
“How is the UN not condemning this? How can they be silent? It’s inconceivable,” Lax said of Guterres’ middle-of-the-road take on the conflict.
“We went into Gaza to protect our country. No other country in the world would sit there with terrorists at their door,” she insisted.
“The calls for a cease-fire [in Gaza] became stronger than the calls to condemn the massacre, and that’s where I have a hard time.”
After decades of working for peace in the region, Lax said, she is deeply saddened by the deaths of civilians in Gaza.
“No child, no person, not in Gaza, should be suffering because of the evil and the hatred. But I question what we [Israel] should do. … Should we just let it happen again?” she said, referring to the threat of another Hamas incursion.
“This is not about freedom, this is not about justice and peace — this is about evil and hatred.”
Lax also lamented that Silver — who dedicated her time to helping Palestinians in Gaza receive proper medical care in Israel — should “have her life end in such a 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 are silent,” she noted.
“People will forget that these precious souls [such as Vivian Silver] were slaughtered.”
Lax is traveling to Tel Aviv next week, she told The Post. She has not been in Israel since the war started.
“I know it doesn’t make sense [to go back],” she said.
But “there is something … I need to be there,” she said. “I have a family there, and I must hug them. I have a company there, and I must hug my employees.”
Lax is co-owner of an Israeli shoe company based in the northern part of the country, she explained.
Even though most of the area has been evacuated because of threats from Hezbollah in Lebanon, she said her employees are still showing up to work in the factory.
“Our shoes are shoes of peace, people of all religions work together, that is what is possible,” she said.
“To find a way to give the Palestinians the state they so deserve, so we can live side by side.”
The company has sent out thousands of shoes to the more than 500,000 Israelis who have been displaced by the evacuations, she said.
“Nobody talks about them,” she said sadly.
Despite the daily struggle of wartime, Lax said she 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 in 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 if she worries she will be targeted when she speaks Hebrew in public.
“I am not scared anywhere,” Lax said. “No one will make me afraid.”