Sunday 4 December 2016

'Israeli Fritzl' suspected of incest and sex slavery

Paul Blaine in Tel Aviv

Published 16/01/2010 | 05:00

Goel Ratzon (centre) appearing in Tel Aviv District Court yesterday. Israeli police have detained Ratzon on suspicion of incest and abuse of women and children they allege he kept like slaves in various homes around Tel Aviv.
Goel Ratzon (centre) appearing in Tel Aviv District Court yesterday. Israeli police have detained Ratzon on suspicion of incest and abuse of women and children they allege he kept like slaves in various homes around Tel Aviv.

ISRAELI police are holding a 60-year-old, self-styled Jewish sage on suspicion of incest and the abuse of women and children, whom they allege he kept as sex slaves in various homes around Tel Aviv.

  • Go To

Goel Ratzon was remanded in custody early this week and a gagging order on the case was lifted yesterday.

Police said Mr Ratzon was suspected of fathering children with some of his own daughters and that 17 women and about 40 children were involved.

Mr Ratzon is alleged to have kept a harem of 30 women, whom he treated as "sex slaves" in a number of squalid apartments.

He is accused of fathering 37 children since 1993 with his "wives" and daughters and has been dubbed "Israel's Josef Fritzl" by the local media.

In addition to turning over all their wages, the women were allegedly forbidden from making telephone calls or talking to men other than Mr Ratzon.

If they broke the rules, they would pay a fine or receive physical punishment, according to police.

Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said that Mr 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," said Mr Rosenfeld.

Police say Mr Ratzon exercised extreme power over his commune.

Conditions

"The evidence shows the suspect controlled his women with a firm hand, including their possessions and their money," said a police statement, which added that Mr Ratzon had written a "rule book" for the women, whom he kept in "conditions of slavery".

The police said: "He would dictate what they could and could not do, limit their movements and impose sanctions and various punishments, including the use of violence if they refused to obey."

However, several women who identified themselves as Mr Ratzon's wives appeared in an Israeli television documentary that was aired last year and told a rather different story.

"He is the messiah everyone is talking about," said one. "He is already here and he hasn't been revealed yet.

"The day he decides to reveal himself, the land will shake."

The women wore the heavy dress of orthodox Jews and bore tattoos of the bearded, bespectacled Mr Ratzon's face.

Mr Ratzon himself was also interviewed for the TV programme and he introduced several of his children, all of whom had names with variations on 'Goel', which is the Hebrew word for 'redeemer'.

"I'm perfect," said Mr Ratzon, adding: "I have all the qualities a woman wants."

Mr Ratzon's lawyer said her client denied all wrongdoing, adding that about 30 women and 60 children were involved with the accused.

"As far as he is concerned, no sexual crimes have been committed," she told Israel Radio, adding: "The women consented willingly to relations."

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in World News