Israeli cult leader convicted of sex crimes

2014-09-08 16:33
Israeli policemen escort Goel Ratzon to attend his trial at a court in Tel Aviv. (Yossi Zeliger, AFP)

Israeli policemen escort Goel Ratzon to attend his trial at a court in Tel Aviv. (Yossi Zeliger, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem - An Israeli cult leader alleged by prosecutors to have kept 21 wives under his spell for years was convicted on Monday of sexual crimes but acquitted of charges of enslavement.

The suspect, Goel Ratzon, 64, had denied the allegations, which prosecutors described as a "mind-boggling" saga of dominance and delusions of deity.

Ratzon, whose first name means "redeemer", kept 21 wives and 38 children in various homes around Tel Aviv, according to the indictment.

A Tel Aviv court convicted him of sex offences that included rape and indecent assault over the indictment said was "many years". Some of his daughters were among the victims, according to the verdict, distributed by the justice ministry.

Ratzon's sentence will be handed down later.

Sporting shoulder-length grey hair and a white beard, Ratzon was seen by his wives as "omnipotent and possessing the powers of healing and destruction", according to the charges.

But the court found him not guilty of holding people in conditions of slavery. Ratzon had argued that the women, many of whom had his name and portrait tattooed on their bodies, lived with him on their own accord.

Read more on:    israel

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.