Thursday, January 14, 2010

Harem Scare'em at Tel Aviv apartments

An Israeli man who kept a cult-like harem of women and fathered dozens of children with them has been arrested on suspicion of enslavement, rape and incest, police said Thursday.

Police say Goel Ratzon kept 17 women in a state of near-total obedience in at least three apartments in the Tel Aviv area, the Associated Press reported. Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said they bore him 37 children, some of whom were born to his own daughters.

Ratzon, a self-described healer about 60 years old with flowing white locks and a bushy white beard, controlled the women's money and sometimes abused them if they dared to challenge his control, police alleged. Read more here. His is not the usual Middle Eastern harem of orientalist fantasy. No eunuch, little pleasure.

Goel Ratzon, self-claimed Healer

House rules, confiscated from the household by police, were printed in Haaretz and other media. These commandments are an insight into polygamy amongst the ultra-Orthodox, though one wife insists they were "just a joke." All the concubines had the visage of Goel tattoed on their bodies, and all children bore his name.

1 No women shall marry nor shall any woman attack another, either verbally or physically.
Fine: 2,000 shekels (£330) into the family kitty

2 No woman shall question another about her whereabouts.
Fine: 100 shekels

3 No conversation is permitted in rooms other than the living room. It is forbidden to talk nonsense.
Fine: 200 shekels

4 No woman shall sit idle when there are dishes to be washed, cleaning to be done, children to look after etc.
Fine: 2,000 shekels

5 Any two women caught fighting will be punished equally.
Fine: 2,000 shekels

6 It is absolutely forbidden to question Ratzon on his whereabouts or intention.
Fine: 400 shekels

7 It is permissible to ask to accompany him; but refusal is to be accepted without appeal.
Fine: 300 shekels

8 No woman shall interrupt Ratzon or intervene in matters not concerning her.
Fine: 500 shekels

9 All orders are to be obeyed immediately.
Fine: 300 shekels

10 No woman shall work while a man of over 12 years of age is in the house.
Fine 3,000 shekels


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

ah... how are they insights into polygamy amongst the ultra-orthodox? this loony is practicing some bizarre religion of his own invention but it isn't ultra-orthodox judaism..

Izzy Bee said...

They all come from an ultra-Orthodox background, police said. Yes, this fellow pushed the envelope and went far beyond the tenents of Judaism.
The self-inforced isolation of the ultra-Orthodox community may have been a factor in the way it flourished.

Jan said...

Elaborating on this weird tale, the AP
piece is worth a read

"Today, I'm free to wear jeans, talk to my parents, meet friends, buy myself a cup of coffee without getting Goel's permission," said Reichstein, who had a "Goel" tattoo peeking out over her black turtleneck in a photo published in the Yediot Ahronot daily.

"I'm not the same woman who just a month ago sent him an ovulation SMS saying, 'I want to remind you that I'm ovulating, and if it works out, I'd very much like to be with you and carry your seed in my womb. Love you forever, your wife-slave,'" she wrote in an account of her life with Razton published by Yediot Ahronot.