For 1st time, Israeli police protect women praying at Western Wall, arrest 3 men protesting

Israeli police have held back hundreds of ultra-Orthodox men trying to prevent a Jewish women's group from praying at a key Jerusalem holy site, a reversal of past practice.

It was the first monthly prayer by the group at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, since a court decision affirming their right to worship there.

The women wear prayer shawls and perform rituals ultra-Orthodox Jews believe only men are allowed to do.

In the past, police have arrested members of the women's group for disrupting "local customs" at the site, a remnant of the biblical Jewish Temple compound.

On Friday the tables were turned.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says police used barricades to separate the groups. He says three ultra-Orthodox men were arrested for disorderly conduct.