The haunting Hebrew melodies sung by many Jews on their way to the gas chambers in World War II echoed around the synagogue in Gaza’s biggest Jewish settlement today.
Sobbing worshippers offered up prayers against the evacuation. About a thousand activists from outside Gaza had spent the night in the Neve Dekalim synagogue and were joined at daybreak by some residents.
However, they came to an agreement with the security forces that they would leave peacefully once they had finished their prayers. Many of the soldiers were clearly moved and linked arms with the settlers, joining them in prayer.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has praised the troops for what he described as their great sensitivity.
A large number have had to endure taunts about Jews evicting Jews and emotional appeals to stop the evacuation.