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Israeli soldiers pray at Gaza shul ‘for first time in decades’

The 6th century synagogue is known for its King David mosaic, which is housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The Gaza City synagogue mosaic of King David with a lyre. Source: X.
The Gaza City synagogue mosaic of King David with a lyre. Source: X.

Israeli soldiers prayed at a sixth-century synagogue in Gaza on Tuesday for the first time in decades.

In recent days troops entered Gaza City, where the headquarters of Hamas is located, as they pursue their mission to dismantle the terrorist organization after the Oct. 7 massacre of 1,400 persons in Israel, nearly all civilians.

There is a synagogue in the Rimal neighborhood built in 508 C.E., during the Byzantine period. A mosaic featuring King David with a lyre and his name inscribed in Hebrew was transferred to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for restoration after Israel captured the Gaza Strip during the 1967 Six-Day War.

A copy of the mosaic is on display at the Good Samaritan Museum on the Jerusalem-Jericho Road in Ma’ale Adumim in Judea.

Michael Freund, founder and chairman of Shavei Israel, tweeted that “for the first time in decades, Israeli soldiers prayed in the ancient synagogue in Gaza which was built in the 6th century and where a beautiful mosaic floor depicting King David was unearthed years ago. Jews have returned to Gaza!!”

No photos were published from the event due to military regulations against sharing images from the Gaza combat zone.

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