Agudat Israel became a political party when the State of Israel was founded in 1948 and has been represented in all national and municipal bodies. Its leader, R. Y. M. Levin, was minister of social welfare from 1949 to 1952. In all these institutions Agudat Israel fought for the observance of the halakhah in public life. Its principal campaigns have been in the field of education and, in 1953, after the educational "trends" were abolished and a unified school system established under the law of compulsory free education, Agudat Israel organized an independent school system of its own. It has also achieved the exemption of "religious" girls and of yeshivah students from military service.