Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz said today that despite the Arabs' violent behavior towards the synagogues, the decision to leave the buildings standing was the correct one.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said, "The desecration of the synagogues is a barbaric act by people who have no respect for holy sites."

MK Gila Finkelstein (NRP): "The Palestinians had an unusual opportunity to show their change by displaying their good will - but they preferred destruction. More than they want a state, they want to destroy every Jewish trace."

The Yesha Rabbis Council: "The burning of synagogues by Arab rioters proves again that this is a religious war, based on a hatred for Judaism, and not merely political hostility. This is not understood by our wicked government, which is trying to turn the Jews into a nation like all the others and detaches itself from Judaism. Only by connecting to the Torah, Land and Nation of Israel will we deter our various enemies."

MK Sha'ul Yahalom (National Religious Party): "The Palestinian Authority, as usual, showed total helplessness. This is a clear proof of the terrible future that awaits us from the terrorists of Gaza, and of the terrible mistake we made in running away from there."

MK Ehud Yatom (Likud): "Our rushed departure from the Gaza Strip, without giving thought to the arrangements that we could have made with the Palestinians, the Europeans and the Americans, detracted from the chances of preserving our synagogues. The government didn't think about how to grant the synagogues a measure of international protection."

In what was Netzarim, the PA police barely tried to control the mobs, and sat on the sidelines while thousands of Arabs looted and burned. They took wood pieces, aluminum, metal, abandoned objects such as electric cables, water piping, couches, tables and chairs, as well as mango fruits grown by the Netzarim farmers. Some destroyed fencing and gates, while others collected it for re-selling. Representatives of various terrorist groups climbed atop the synagogues and unfurled flags, while fires were set below. The scene was very similar in other former Jewish communities.

Associated Press reported that PA bulldozers began demolishing the synagogue in Netzarim early this afternoon.

Former N'vei Dekalim resident Amram Hazut told Maariv/NRG, "We're dealing with animals, not people. They didn't even wait half-a-minute to set the synagogues on fire. When they fired at us from mosques, we didn't touch them [the mosques], even though our lives were endangered. But for them, everything is permitted."

A former neighbor of his, Shlomit Al-Nekaveh, said, "I'm not so suprised. We've gone through so much. What more can I get excited about after I saw my brothers and sisters and friends taking us out of our homes? But life is strong, and we're going forward."

As the Israeli cabinet was about to vote on the fate of the Gaza synagogues on Sunday, Labor Party Knesset Member Rabbi Michael Melchior suggested on Israel TV that "we approach the Palestinians and ask them … to keep the buildings and maybe turn them into centers for inter-religious dialogue for peace and coexistence." Click to hear this quote.

Click here for photographs of Arabs desecrating the synagogues.