The large forces began to enter from two, possibly three, different sides some 15 minutes later. The intense prayers continued inside all the while. In the boys' synagogue - the Sephardic one - several of them linked arms and legs in a last attempt to make their eviction difficult.
The soldiers then pushed their way in and began trying to evict them. It proved very difficult, and the scene was filled with chants of "A Jew doesn't evict a Jew," and, "Refuse Orders!", as well as pushing, pulling, screaming and violence. After a half hour, only 15-20 people had been removed.
As the hours passed, however, the expulsion began to go faster, and some estimated that it would be completed by this evening.
The other synagogue, where close to 1,000 girls were gathered since Tuesday, also began to be emptied of the protestors shortly afterwards. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner performed the act of mourning by rending his shirt, and eulogized the synagogue.
Among the other settlement leaders on the scene were Yesha Council leader Bentzy Lieberman, Amanah settlement organization head Ze'ev Chever (Zambish), Rabbi Chaim Druckman, Rabbi Avinoam Horowitz and many others.
Earlier, Lieberman said the youths would not leave on their own, but that they would definitely not employ violence against those who come to remove them.
The police had been trying to reach a situation in which the youths - many hundreds of boys in the Sephardic synagogue and several hundred girls in the Ashkenazi synagogue, as well as hundreds more milling about outside - walk out on their own.
--Pictured: some of the hundreds of girls inside the Ashkenazi synagogue--
Earlier, several rabbis made a heart-rending plea to the police to speak with Prime Minister Sharon and have him agree to leave the synagogues intact.
Former Knesset Member Rabbi Chanan Porat tearfully declared Thursday night that the same Sharon government that refused to allow soldiers to remove terrorists who hid in Bethlehem churches last year has ordered soldiers to evict Jews from Gush Katif's synagogues without batting an eyelash.
He spoke to an Israel radio reporter who was describing the violence between expulsion opponents and security forces and asked Porat," Was all this necessary? Isn't this [scene] the fault of the national religious [camp]?"
Porat said the scene was not necessary and the fault is the "evil Prime Minister Ariel Sharon." The Israel Radio reporter, in questioning Porat, accused the opponents of being responsible for desecration of holy objects by holding Torah scrolls during the forced evacuation.