Despite the tragic loss of life that resulted from an arson attack in the Samarian (West Bank) Arab village of Duma in 2015, and the trial and conviction of Amiram Ben Uliel, who was accused of the crime, no attention has been paid to the issue of torture that was used to obtain his confession. Although Ben Uliel recanted his confession, Lod District Court Judges Ruth Lorech, Zvi Dotan and Dvora Atar refused to accept his denial of guilt. The court also dismissed all contradictory evidence and testimony from Arabs who live in the village. He was branded a “terrorist.” On May 18, 2020, the court convicted Ben Uliel of intentional, premeditated (first-degree) murder and arson, based only on his forced confession. Ben Uliel was 21 at the time; his “accomplice,” a minor who was not involved, was also convicted as an accessory. Ben Uliel’s conviction was extracted after several years of harsh psychological and physical torture – “enhanced interrogation,” the Shin Bet admitted. Yet, the court decided that his confession was given freely and voluntarily; there was no other evidence. His “accomplice,” who had been imprisoned for 32 months and was also tortured, testified against him in return for a promised reduced sentence. On September 14, Ben Uliel was given three life sentences; on September 16, his “accomplice” was sentenced to serve an additional 10 months. When several dozen senior rabbis criticized the court’s decision, then-justice minister Avi Nissenkorn (Blue and White, at the time), called for them to be fired. Challenging the court would not be tolerated.The court’s decision in this case is one of the most important – perhaps the most important – decisions ever handed down by an Israeli court because it legitimizes the use of torture for the sole purpose of extracting a confession. Except for Israel (as a result of the court’s decision), no civilized country permits torture only to extract a confession and where the accused poses no danger. Although using torture is generally regarded as morally repulsive and is prohibited by all democratic countries with humanitarian values, some exceptions are permitted, for example, in cases of a “ticking bomb,” when vital information is needed immediately to protect a population.The court’s decision condoning torture violates international law, such as the Fourth Geneva Convention, Hague Conventions, and the UN Convention Against Torture. It violates Jewish law and values, the ethos of the State and the integrity of Israel’s judicial system.The court’s decision ignored questions of when and under what conditions torture is allowed, and if that requires permission from a judicial authority, such as a court or the attorney general. The unrestricted use of torture undermines the basic rule of law and is an attack on Israeli society.The UN Convention against Torture (1984) states that “torture by or with the knowledge of a public official is prohibited,” including causing “severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, intentionally inflicted on a person for the purposes of obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed.” When the US Senate ratified this treaty, it cited the fifth, eighth and 14th Amendments which prohibit “cruel and unusual punishments,” including torture, the rights of “due process” and a fair trial. The Israeli district court disagreed, or didn’t care. Except in dire emergencies, such as preventing a terrorist attack, torture is considered abhorrent, an abomination so terrible that it threatens the values of society. Yet, no public figure in Israel has spoken out. President Reuven Rivlin, Likud and Blue and White ministers, the Knesset, prominent human rights activists and NGOs have all remained silent. The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court.The district court’s decision in the case of Ben Uliel is an indictment of Israeli society and its raison d’etre. In this case, justice was not done. Ben Uliel was denied a fair trial and the court that convicted him turned itself into an accomplice of the police who sought to justify their actions. There is no independent judiciary; that is typical of what goes on in a police state. The writer is a PhD historian and journalist in Israel.