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Learning English - Words in the News
19 March, 2008 - Published 17:39 GMT
Israel's secret service goes public
Shin Bet's blog

The Israeli secret service, Shin Bet, has launched a new blog, written by four of its agents. The agents discuss how they were recruited, and what sort of work they do. They also answer questions sent in by members of the public. This report from Tim Franks:

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The tone is chatty, at times even facetious. The agents from Israel's internal security service, the Shin Bet, are shown in silhouette.

Agent Chet is the sole woman among them. She works in high-tech. She says she went to the agency because it offered her a better work-life balance than her previous job in the private sector. There are parts of her job, she says, which she can't discuss even with her husband,but there again, at home, they don't much like talking about work.

Agent Aleph, dubbed 'the expert' on the blog, attempts to debunk a few myths. "We don't work in a basement," he says. "We don't spend the day wearing earpieces. And we don't get to have flashing blue lights for our cars. We have to sit in traffic jams like everyone else."

The blogs are intended to draw members of the public into other areas of the Shin Bet website, in particular the recruitment section. A Shin Bet official told the BBC that the idea was to inform the public that the agency offers work beyond just stopping Palestinian paramilitary attacks. The official said that the agency had been cheered by the feedback from members of the Israeli public, keen to find out more about the jobs within Shin Bet, the pay and even the food.

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conversational and friendly in style

trying to be funny or amusing about subjects most people think should be serious

in silhouette
with faces hidden by shadows


work-life balance
a fixed expression to talk about spending enough time with your family, friends, at home, doing hobbies etc. as well as doing your paid job effectively (rather than spending too much time on your work and not enough on your life outside work)

the private sector
industries or businesses run by private individuals rather than by the government or other public bodies

given an official sounding title or nickname

to debunk a few myths
to tell the truth about things that people think are true and have said were true for many years but actually aren't

the recruitment section
the section of a website or newspaper where jobs are advertised or offered

beyond just
not only

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