Ultra-orthodox demonstrators have attempted to disrupt a prayer service held by the Women of the Wall campaign group at Jerusalem's Western Wall, the first such service since a landmark ruling by the Jerusalem District court.

Police arrested three Haredi men suspected of breaking through barricades to approach the liberal activists during the prayer service. Thousands of ultra-orthodox teens took part in the protest and some threw rocks, water bottles and chairs at the women.

The ultra-orthodox protesters also called the police "Nazis" and shouted "Go back to Germany" at them, according to Haaretz. Two police officers were slightly injured and were treated at the scene.

A prominent rabbi called for thousands of girls from ultra-orthodox seminaries in Jerusalem to demonstrate against the Women of the Wall. But the group's activists and their supporters sang joyful songs such as Vayechi, a song based on a Torah passage in Genesis, and clapped, while holding the Women of the Wall prayer book, which contains morning service and prayers for Rosh Chodesh, the first day of each new month.

Last month Israeli police detained five members of the campaigning group for donning tallits, or shawls, and tefillin (amulets) containing sacred Jewish texts. But a ruling by the Jerusalem District Court stated that the practice does not violate the "local custom".

Police estimated that around 5,000 to 10,000 people attended the ceremony on Friday morning.

Lesley Sachs, the director of Women of the Wall, told Haaretz: "I'm excited that all these young girls have to the Rosh Chodesh service because of us. I'm sure that in some of their minds, there's that question: 'Why not? All this cannot be because there are some Jewish women just wanting to pray.'"

Women of the Wall Spokesperson Oshrat Ben Shimshon told Israel Radio: "Orthodox rabbis have determined that there is no halachik barrier to women praying with prayer shawls and tefillin and reading from the Torah."

Orthodox tradition decrees that prayer shawls and amulets are solely for men. Women of the Wall oppose the police-enforced controls at the Jerusalem holy site, where worshippers are segregated by sex.

[Video: Michal Shmulovich/YouTube]

Women of the Wall
Women of the Wall (Reuters)