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Goel Ratzon is an Israeli polygamist and cult leader who, on Feb. 14, 2010, was indicted on multiple charges, including with rape, sodomy, enslavement, sexual abuse within the family and several other offenses.
Ratzon, 60, allegedly subjected his family of 21 “wives’ and 38 children to strict disciplinary measures, but has claimed that the women and children lived with him on their own accord.
He is considered by his companions to be the savior (Goel in Hebrew) of the universe, and is attributed godly and supernatural abilities. Many of the women have his name and portrait tattooed on several parts of their bodies.
– Source: Tel Aviv cult leader indicted on multiple charges, including rape , Ofra Edelman, Haaretz, Feb. 14, 2010
According to the indictment, Ratzon created “a status of an omnipotent with healing, destruction and cursing capabilities”, through which he possesses full control of his wives’ lives, desires, thoughts and performance.
According to the State Prosecutor’s Office, Ratzon had many diverse ways to influence his wives, causing them to depend on him completely. He allegedly instilled a distorted reality, leading them to believe that their entire being, essence and physical and mental life derive their existence from him.
– Source: Goel Ratzon accused of raping minors, Vered Luvitch, Ynetnews, Feb. 14, 2010
Neighbors who lived near Goel Ratzon in south Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that he was revered as a guru-like saint by his women and children.
Ratzon banned all of the women who lived with him from communicating with men – including their own brothers – and demanded absolute obedience, the neighbors added. “They were his slaves,” one neighbor said.
Police say financial penalties of hundreds of shekels would be meted out by Ratzon to the women for the smallest of transgressions, like “sitting on the stairs.”
“It’s like a state – I have to uphold my principles, order, and laws,” Goel said during a Channel 10 documentary made about him last year.
Some neighbors told the Post that Ratzon had used hypnosis techniques he learned while traveling in India to bring about the blind worship he received from the women.
“He was in India for years. He learned how to hypnotize people,” one woman said.
But other neighbors said he merely preyed on the insecurities of vulnerable young women who came from unstable backgrounds.
In the film, the women can be seen showing the camera large tattoos bearing Ratzon’s face and name on their arms and neck. All of the children conceived by the women and Ratzon are named after him, like Tehilat Ratzon (Ratzon’s Glory), one of his daughters, and Goel Goeli, one of this sons.
“I’m not their messiah, I’m simply good for them,” Ratzon said in the documentary.
The Channel 10 documentary showed how groups of three to four women and their children lived on every floor of Raton’s multi-storied buildings, and formed self-sustaining “economic units,” working and contributing to the commune. Ratzon also received large state funds in the form of child benefit payouts.
– Source: Inside Goel Ratzon’s cult, By yaakov lappin, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 14, 2010