IDF to provide combat soldiers with free year of university.
By LAHAV HARKOVPresident ShimonPeres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar andChief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi launched the newAcademic Commando project at the President’s residence on Sunday.TheAcademic Commando program gives combat soldiers a free year of academicstudies at colleges in the periphery. 50 soldiers are alreadyparticipating in the program, in which they go through four months ofintensive studies that are equivalent to a year of college studies inengineering, physics, computer sciences or chemistry.At theceremony, Peres praised Barak and Ashkenazi, saying “you dared to bringtotally new ideas into the IDF, and you are the first to turn it into afirst-class scientific army.”“This step looks small today,”Peres said, “but it is one of the greatest things the State of Israelis doing, and is a necessary step in strengthening the IDF.”In his speech at the ceremony, which the program's participants attended, Barak said “we are taking a significant step towards the future,” and called the soldiers “insurance and the guarantee of Israel’s technological and scientific advantage.” Barak said the IDF hopes that many soldiers will join the Academic Commando program and begin studying for their BA during their military service.The program is funded by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Defense and the LIBI fund, and was inspired by a similar program run by NASA.
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