Vivian Silver, former Co-Executive Director of AJEEC-NISPED, is driven by two burning issues: 1) creating a shared society between Jews and Arabs in Israel based on values of equality and empowerment and 2) feminism. For the past four decades, Vivian has been active in social change work – first in Canada and then in Israel. Growing up in an observant but liberal home in Winnipeg, early on Vivian became active in the Jewish feminist movement.
She moved to Israel in 1974 where she was a founding member of the reestablished Kibbutz Gezer. She was elected the kibbutz’s first secretary general and subsequently became Gezer’s construction manager. Along the way, Vivian abandoned two convictions she had cherished in the Diaspora – religion and the conception that the kibbutz practiced equality between men and women. Increasingly disturbed by the widening gap in the treatment of Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens,she focused her work in this realm.
Vivian was the founder and first director of the Department to Advance Gender Equality in the United Kibbutz Movement and a member of the Knesset sub-committee for the Advancement of Women in Work and the Economy. She was a member of the board of directors of the New Israel Fund in the 1980s and a member of the steering committee of Shatil in the 1990s. She was a founding member and the first Chair of Shutafut-Sharaka, a forum of civil society organizations committed to the advancement of democratic values and the promotion of an equal and shared society for all Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike. She is presently Deputy Chair of the Membership Committee of the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) and sits on the Public Advisory Committee of Midot, which evaluates non-profit organizations in Israel.
Vivian is a member of Kibbutz Beeri and a founding member of the kibbutz’s philanthropic fund which supports grassroots and social change projects in the Negev. She resides there with her husband and their two sons.
Together with Amal Elsana Alh’jooj, Vivian was awarded the Victor J. Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East (2011).
Languages: English, Hebrew.
View Vivian’s LinkedIn profile here.