Monday, 01 March 2021
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What is Shin Bet? Learn this Hebrew abbreviation - ש"ב

shin bet

Throughout the Coronavirus crisis we have been learning new Hebrew words, topical phrases and abbreviations based on the latest news headlines.

So far, we've learned these:

MALAL - מל"ל

PAKAR - פקע"ר

YOR - יו"ר

TACHBATZ - תחב"צ

CHALAT - חל"ת

MAKAT - מק"ט

Today, we are sharing another topical and good-to-know abbreviation with you - ש"ב .  Let's proceed....


Hebrew Transliteration English Also known as...
ש"ב Shin Bet The Israel Security Agency Shabak


The Israel Security Agency, better known by the acronym Shin Bet (ש"ב) or Shabak (שב"כ), is Israel's internal security service.

The Shin Bet is one of three principal organizations of the Israeli intelligence community, alongside Aman (military intelligence) and the Mossad (foreign intelligence service).


Why is the Shin Bet in the headlines?

The Shin Bet has been using their databases of geo-location data on Israeli citizens to retrace the steps of people who were found to be carriers of the coronavirus. The program was designed to warn people who'd come into contact with coronavirus carriers.  This information was used to warn people that they might have been infected and that they must isolate themselves and enter self-quarantine.  After 3 months of continuous use, the Shin Bet was required to halt their surveillance activities on June 9th, 2020.

On Wednesday, June 24th, after the sudden and steep rise in coronavirus cases in Israel, the cabinet unanimously approved a decision to present the Knesset with a bill to allow the Shin Bet to track coronavirus patients. The bill will enable use of the agency's surveillance tools if the need arises.

On July 1st, 53 Knesset members voted in favor and 38 voted against. The tracking system will be in use for 3 weeks and not as previously suggested for 3 months. A long-term bill is still under debate.

The bill states that the Shin Bet will not contact a patient or any of their contacts and will not engage or assist in monitoring or enforcing the self-isolation of a patient or their contacts.In addition, the Shin Bet and the Health Ministry will submit a weekly report to Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on their activities and the nature of the information obtained under the authorities bestowed on the Shin Bet by the law. -YNet