An Israeli court sentenced a polygamous cult leader to 30 years’ imprisonment on Tuesday for sex crimes against his wives and daughters as part of what prosecutors described as a mind-boggling saga of dominance and delusions of deity.
An Israeli polygamist and cult leader was convicted of several sexual offenses including raping his wives.
Goel Ratzon, a 60-year-old man with long white hair and penetrating eyes, has at least 17 wives and 28 children, though the precise figure remains elusive. Ratzon, who apparently believes himself to be something of a messiah, or the modern embodiment of King Solomon, was arrested last week in Tel Aviv, as were some of the wives, following an eight-month undercover operation that included some daring work of a female detective who presented herself as a willing conquest. The details emerging over the past few days about life in his cult/commune/harem form a disturbing and mysterious portrait, in part because of how zealously many of the women have come to his defense.