Shabak | Just Vision Skip to main content

The glossary is comprised of nearly 250 terms related to the Israeli-Palestinian context. Given the rapidly shifting landscape, these terms cannot capture the full range of nuances, narratives and historical events. This tool is meant as a starting point and we encourage you to continue your exploration of this topic through further research. Last update and review: September 2015.


(Acronym for the Hebrew "Sherut haBitachon haKlali," which means General Security Services.) This agency conducts security intelligence work within Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as opposed to the Mossad, which deals with intelligence gathering on the international front. The Shabak is especially involved in providing intelligence about organizations and individuals it deems to be involved in terrorist activities. Its methods of recruiting Palestinian collaborators have been controversial, and Israeli and international human rights groups labeled its interrogation methods as torture. In 1999, the Israeli High Court ruled Shabak's use of torture illegal, yet the Israeli human rights organizations B'tselem and the Public Committee Against Torture state that the agency continues to torture. See BBC's "Profile: Israel's Shin Bet Agency"; and "Israeli rights group accuses Shin Bet of using torture despite High Court ban," The Jerusalem Post, September 11, 2014. See also "Spotlight shines on Palestinian collaborators," Jonathan Cook, Al Jazeera English, Feb 17, 2014. For a documentary film based on interviews with all the surviving former heads of the Shin Bet, see "The Gatekeepers."