Table of Contents:
- 'Israel's Fritzl' Arrested on Charges of Incest, Sex Abuse (01/15/2010)
- 'Israeli Fritzl' with harem of up to 30 wives and 60 children arrested on suspicion of incest and sexual abuse (01/15/2010)
- In Israel, the Messiah with more than 30 Wives' (01/30/2010)
- Goel Ratzon accused of raping minors (02/14/2010)
- Israeli ‘harem’ leader Goel Ratzon charged with rape and incest (02/15/2010)
Goel Ratzon, 60, is accused of fathering 37 children since 1993 with his "wives" and daughters. Ratzon, who was dubbed by the local media as "Israel’s Josef Fritzl," is under arrest on suspicion of incest and sexual abuse.
"The evidence shows the suspect controlled his women with a firm hand, including their possessions and their money," police said. Ratzon even wrote a list of commandments to ensure that the women were kept in "conditions similar to slavery," police said.
In addition to turning over all their wages, the women were forbidden from making telephone calls or talking to men other than Ratzon. If they broke the rules they would pay a fine or receive physical punishment.
Mickey Rosenfeld, the Israeli police spokesman, said that Ratzon convinced his victims that he had godlike status. "The women didn’t really understand what their situation was, they didn’t understand what freedom was," Rosenfeld said.
In one case, police raided a three-bedroom apartment where 10 women and 17 children were found living in "horrible conditions."
The women wore conservative orthodox dresses covering their entire bodies and bore tattoos of their captor’s face — and name. He was married to 17 women but it was unclear how many others he had relations with, police said. All his offspring had names with a variation on his — Goel, which means redeemer in Hebrew.
'Israeli Fritzl' with harem of up to 30 wives and 60 children arrested on suspicion of incest and sexual abuse
By Sara Nelson
(UK) Mail online - Jan 15, 2010
By Matthew Kalman
(UK) Times - Jan. 18, 2010
Goel Ratzon's Facebook profile shows the bespectacled Israeli with shoulder-length white hair and neatly trimmed beard and says he is currently dating and has 36 friends. His real status is somewhat more complicated. When Israeli police raided the self-styled healer's four homes in Tel Aviv last week they found two legal ex-wives, plus another 30 women as well as 89 children — all reputedly his. Ratzon was arrested on suspicion of enslavement, rape and sexual abuse and remanded in custody by a local magistrate.
Police described the apartment block in the city's downscale Hatikvah neighborhood as a slum harem. "The living conditions of the women were tragic," Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told TIME. "When I entered one of the houses, I was shocked by what I saw. The filth was horrible, and there was nowhere to walk without stumbling on something. It was a three-bedroom apartment, where 10 women and 17 children were living."
Ratzon's unusual domestic arrangements first came to light in a documentary broadcast on Israel's Channel 10 in January 2009. It showed Ratzon's "wives" cooking, cleaning and shopping together, eagerly anticipating the arrival of "Daddy" and competing over whom he would choose to spend the night with. On the show, Ratzon explained the secret of his magnetic attraction was that he was "perfect." "I have everything a woman wants, all the qualities a woman wants. I give women the attention they want. It's made of many things, but fortunately, I have everything," he said. Because there was technically no multiple marriage (no ceremonies or documents were involved), authorities had no basis for charging Ratzon with polygamy.
Ratzon, who had lived with 32 women and dozens of children, was arrested last month in a wide-scale police operation. His son, Yigal Ratzon, arrived at the court Sunday and continued to insist that his father was innocent.
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.
Last week, the Tel Aviv District Police said that most of Ratzon's wives had incriminated him when they were questioned and would testify against him in the trial. The police believe they have a well-established case against the man, claiming that most of his wives have "become sober".
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.
The indictment describes the "family" setting Ratzon built around him: "The defendant captured the women in a human group structure with the nature of a pseudo-family revolving around the ritual of his image, turning the birth of his children into a supreme goal the wives must aspire to, all with the aim of glorifying him while serving him and providing all his needs."
The State went on to say that Ratzon abused his wives by scorning them, while ridiculing their personality and independence and trampling over their self-image and self-value.
He kept them away from any external social connection, including their families, damaging their judgment and free will and enslaving them to provide his economic and sexual needs, the indictment said.
'Don't worry, you'll get used to it'Many of the indictment clauses refer to the sex offenses allegedly committed by Ratzon. One describes a 19-year-old girl who was raped by Ratzon from the age of 15 to 17 on a nearly daily basis. He is also accused of indecent assault of another girl, by caressing her sexual organs and kissing her while pushing his tongue into her mouth.
He is also accused of raping and sexually harassing a girl whose mother died when she was a baby. According to the indictment, he distanced the girl from her family and promised to marry her. He convinced her that he had supernatural powers and ignored her request to stop kissing and caressing her.
Several days later, he took a shower with the girl and raped her. When she complained that it hurt, he responded, "Don't worry, you'll get used to it." In another incident, he performed oral sex on the girl and raped her again.
"The defendant knew that the young girl was subject to his magical influence, which he nurtured and implanted in a way preventing her from granting her free agreement," the indictment stated. "Shortly after these acts were committed, the young woman's father managed to locate her and remove her forcibly."
Police: Most women will testifyAfter nearly a month in detainment, Goel Ratzon spoke out for the first time during a hearing in Tel Aviv Magistrates' Court, claiming he was innocent.
"They can say things about me, (but) they're not true. They are putting the squeeze on me during investigation," he said.
Regarding the book of rules he allegedly wrote for the women and their children living with him, Ratzon said, "There was no book. That is an invention of the media."
Ratzon also addressed concerns that his wives would try to hurt themselves when he was arrested: "I didn't expect anything. Nothing was supposed to happen when they arrested me."
He also denied committing sexual offenses. "This is what the police claims, not me," he said.
But the testimonies collected by the police paint a different picture. The investigators discovered that Ratzon, thanks to his special "charm", managed to get hold of intelligent women and turn them into slaves with no personal desire. The women told the investigators they would drive him to different places, buy him things, take loans for him and pay for his trips abroad – all in order to please him.
Israeli ‘harem’ leader Goel Ratzon charged with rape and incest
The indictment against Goel Ratzon, 60, says that he positioned himself as a “godlike” figure to the women, whom he enticed into a worship of him that included following a “rulebook” that dictated their lives.
He sired at least 49 children with his “wives”, who tattooed themselves with his face and name, and is also accused of raping underage girls.
Ratzon created an “image of an omnipotent one who was blessed with supernatural powers and the ability to heal, destroy and cast curses”, police said. “Through this total control the defendant led the women to completely scrap their character and devote their existence to satisfy his needs, including his financial and sexual needs.”
In a documentary produced by Israeli television last year, Mr Ratzon’s wives were filmed feeding him and stroking his grey beard and wispy hair.
Police said that his wives have now “sobered” and are coming forward with evidence against him. Almost all of the women incriminated him when questioned, they said, and will testify during the trial.
Mr Ratzon maintained his innocence when speaking outside his hearing at the Tel Aviv Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
“They can say things about me that are not true. They are pressuring me during investigation,” he said. He added that the “book of rules” published by the media and catalogued by police was “an invention”.
His wives and other women he is accused of molesting have depicted Mr Ratzon as an expert manipulator. In each case he is said to have lured women away from their social networks, including friends and family. He ridiculed and insulted them, yet.
Mr Ratzon convinced them that their entire existence — including mental and physical wellbeing — derived from himself. The “supreme goal” of the wives was to bear him children “glorifying him while serving him,” police said.
Mr Ratzon is accused of raping underage girls while convincing them that he would one day marry them. One woman said that she was raped by Mr Ratzon on a “near daily” basis between the ages of 15 to 17.
In another case he convinced an underage girl that he had supernatural powers and distanced her from her family. He then took a shower with the girl and raped her. When she complained of pain, he told her, “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.”
Mr Ratzon “knew that the young girl was subject to his charismatic influence. He nurtured and cultivated her in such a way that it prohibited her from granting her free agreement,” police said. They added that the girl’s father managed to locate her and forcibly remove her from Mr Ratzon.
Women living with Mr Ratzon were asked to turn over all their wages and were forbidden from making telephone calls or talking to other men. If they broke the rules they would pay a fine or be physically punished.
The women wore conservative orthodox dresses covering their entire bodies and bore tattoos of their captor’s face and name. All his offspring had names with a variation on his, Goel, which means “redeemer” in Hebrew.
Psychologists and welfare officials who have spoken to Mr Ratzon’s wives have said that they are concerned for their mental well being. Becoming aware of the “brainwashing” they were under has been traumatic, police said.
But some of the women have begun meeting with their families again, while many of the women who had tattooed Mr Ratzon’s name and likeness on their bodies have now asked that they be removed.
However, police said that some of the women have remained loyal to Mr Ratzon and refused to condemn his treatment of them.
Mr Ratzon’s case has met with outrage amonhg the Israeli public, who question why he was not arrested sooner. Police have said that they were aware of Mr Ratzon for years but could not gather enough evidence for his arrest until women came forward and filed complaints with welfare authorities.