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Young people who join the Shin Bet secret service and specialize in Arabic and Middle East studies will be able to receive a bachelor's degree in a year and four months.

The Shin Bet and Hebrew University in Jerusalem have recently agreed to enable new recruits to the Secret Service, especially field coordinators and investigators, to receive academic points for their Arabic language studies in the service's course. The studies last nine months, in boarding school conditions, followed by seven months at Hebrew University.

Until now the Shin Bet preferred enlisting people who already held at least a bachelor's degree. Recently, it reexamined the possibility of recruiting former soldiers who just completed their military service and who are familiar with Palestinian issues. Following the reevaluation, the Shin Bet changed its policy and formulated the fast bachelor's degree course.

The Shin Bet hopes it will serve as an incentive to people seeking both public sector security jobs and academic studies. The academic degree is intended as a certain compensation for the recruits' beginning wages. Senior Shin Bet figures believe these wages should be increased to attract quality recruits.

Shin Bet sources say that increasing the budget for personnel, technology and other fields is crucial to deal with Palestinian terror.

The Shin Bet's academic course indirectly competes with academic plans offered by the IDF. The students of the Ground Forces Tactical Command College at Glilot, for example, receive a bachelor's degree from Tel Aviv University after two years and graduates of the Flying Academy in Hatzerim receive a bachelor's degree from Ben-Gurion University.