Case 273 - Tiltulim: Interrogation by Shaking in Israel
Wrage, Stephen D.
This case study, intended for classes in ethics and politics, focuses on the problem of how a democracy such as Israel responds to a constant terrorist threat. After recounting the controversy over the Israeli secret police’s increasing use of “tiltulim,” a form of torture based on severe shaking, to interrogate Palestinian detainees, the study reviews the 50-year-long dialectic between security agencies bent on extracting information from suspected terrorists and legal authorities committed to upholding the rule of law and the humanitarian imperative. In particular, the case explores the question of whether such tactics are justified in “ticking bomb” situations, where there is no other way to head off mass casualties.