Agents of the Shin Bet security service have developed a particularly thick skin over the years. The Shin Bet generally ignores human rights activists who accuse it of torturing Palestinian detainees or issues a laconic denial, at most. Shin Bet usually does the same whenever a radical right-wing Jewish group accuses it of using outlawed methods to interrogate Jewish suspects.
On Jan. 6, however, the Shin Bet deviated from its practice, as it reacted to the right-wing outcry against the detention of five Jewish minors suspected of causing the death of Aisha Rabi, a Palestinian mother of eight from the West Bank village of Biddya. Rabi and her husband were attacked by a group of settlers who threw stones at their car. In a statement about the detention, the Shin Bet lashed out at the “deliberate and continuing effort by interested elements to denigrate the organization and its employees and delegitimize its activities.” Taking an unusually harsh tone, the organization said it conducts all its counterterrorism activity in accordance with the law and values of the state and it expects “condemnation” of those who malign it.