||The broadside begins "The Haredi community was mobilized entirely to stand for purity and modesty in Israel and opposed in our time the drafting of women at all. After a heavy campaign, both in the Knesset and without, a year and a half ago, it was decided to free religious young women from the obligation of the draft."
The broadside then continues that other countries do not draft women, and that except for civilian aid in the time of war, women are excluded from military service entirely. The broadside lambastes the government for not keeping promises in regards to education as well as the draft. The religious population is called upon to stand up for the soul of the country and for the values that have been sanctified from generation to generation and to oppose the laws that are threatening to change the image of the nation and its spiritual nature. We are not allowed to ruin the wall of purity and modesty in the State of Israel because of …revenge against the religious front in the Knesset.
…Religious Judaism will not agree to this decree.
Like a wall we will attach - around his representative in the Knesset and in the government - to protect from all attacks the purity of the people of Israel and its holiness.
We will fulfill in our young country the G-dly commandment –" For Hashem your G-d walks in the midst of your camp, to save you, and to give your enemies before you; therefore shall your camp be holy" (Devarim 23:15) This is the commandment of life for the State of Israel.
Signed: the working committee of Poale Agudat Yisrael
In 1949 when the Knesset discussed the scope of the national service requirements, the secularists wanted to include both men and single women. However, the Orthodox strenuously opposed the drafting of women. Members of the United Religious Front warned the Knesset that military service was morally damaging to young women. A compromise was arrived at whereby Orthodox females could obtain an exemption from military service. But the secularists argued that this was a form of discrimination against non-Orthodox women and urged an amendment to the law so that religious women who refused to serve in the army would be assigned to some form of substitute national service such as agricultural work in a religious settlement or some form of public welfare work, nursing, or teaching. Nothing came of this attempt to equalize the obligations of Orthodox and non-Orthodox women. Some time later Ben-Gurion sought to have some form of alternate service for Orthodox women approved by the Knesset, but his urgings only further antagonized the Orthodox.
In 1951, Ben-Gurion challenged the Orthodox by presenting to the Knesset a series of secularist bills, among them, an amendment to the Compulsory Military Service Law that abolished the exemption granted to religious females. Orthodox young women would, under the amendment, serve in military offices, farm settlements, hospitals, and other social and national welfare positions. The amendment offended Orthodox views of female modesty. Minister of Social Welfare Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Levin of Agudat Israel warned the Knesset that any amendment to the Military Service Law that infringed on the rights of the Orthodox would be disobeyed, even at the risk of imprisonment or execution. The Chief Rabbinate threatened that "the rabbinical court would ban the military amendment, a world wide day of fast would be proclaimed in protest, and Orthodox Jewry would 'fill the prisons in Israel with their daughters rather than comply with the law . . . .'" Rabbi Amram Blau, leader of the ultra-Orthodox Natore Karta, urged Orthodox females to commit suicide rather than accept conscription. Feelings ran high, and a few extremists went beyond rhetoric and attempted antigovernment action. The police foiled a group of fanatics who had plotted to blow up the Knesset and seized a small arsenal of weapons that were to be used by a minute band of zealots planning a "holy war." The amendment, however, was shelved before coming to a final reading. Two years later, despite protests in Israel and abroad, the Defense Service Act was amended so that unmarried women aged eighteen to twenty-six who were exempted from military conscription on the grounds of religious objection were required to render equivalent national public service. The extreme Orthodox groups were incensed, but in fact they were not affected because relief from national service could be administratively granted for a number of reasons, including "a family's special way of life." The moderate Mizrachi factions were placated by the provision that during their period of national service religious girls were to be assured of an opportunity to maintain a religious way of life. And, as a modest quid pro quo for the secularists, the law provided that it was to be implemented by a minister designated by the government, which meant that the law was to be administered by the Ministry of Labor, a longtime Mapai stronghold. In actual practice, because of National Religious Party objections, the 1953 National Service Law has never been applied. Nonetheless, many moderate Orthodox girls voluntarily fulfill their military or national service. The great majority of ultra-Orthodox girls, however, have refused to perform any national service.