Authorities handling fallout of breaking up Goel Ratzon’s polygamist cult

One year after police raided the Tel Aviv headquarters of a suspected polygamist cult that involved some 40 children and 20 women, welfare authorities say they are still dealing intensely with the fallout and rehabilitation process of the cult members as they return to live a normative life.

According to information published Tuesday by the Welfare and Social Services Ministry, the 20 wives and 40 children of the yet-to-be convicted cult leader Goel Ratzon continue to receive a wide range of welfare services, including constant psychological monitoring.

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“The Goel Ratzon affair is a clear sign that we have a policy of zero tolerance to cults and other groups that prey on vulnerable women and children,” Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog said in a statement Tuesday.

“It also raises awareness to the dangers of belonging to such cults.”

The minister said that in the coming months a specially formed committee to look into the phenomenon of cults and their long-term effects on members would present its findings and hopefully improve the rehabilitation process for those involved.

A spokeswoman for the ministry told The Jerusalem Post that the prosecution is still gathering evidence on Ratzon, who could be convicted of sexual abuse and rape of a minor.

The information released Tuesday regarding the fallout of this unique case showed that in addition to standard social welfare assistance, the women and their children are being given help in finding public housing and employment, access to legal aid and intensive therapy to reconnect with their extended families.

Former cult members have also received financial support to repay debts accrued while in the cult and funds to pay for the removal of the cult’s signature tattoo, which depicts their grey-haired leader and was inked in very visible places on most of the women’s bodies.

Social workers have also helped the children to acclimatize to the mainstream education system and financed psychological treatments for them.

– Source / Full Story: Authorities handling fallout of breaking up polygamist cult, Ruth Eglash, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 12, 2011– Summarized by Religion News Blog

See Also

Goel Ratzon’s cult: 17 women, 60 children and a climate of absolute obedience
Coming out of the cults: Clinical research has identified specific cult-related emotional problems with which ex-members must cope during their reentry into society.
How to select a cult expert

Woman who escaped from cult leader Goel Ratzon accuses state of neglecting her case

The woman who exposed a polygamist cult whose leader was later charged with enslaving and abusing his numerous “wives” says the authorities have abandoned her, giving her none of the help and benefits that other women in her predicament have received.

She was the first of Goel Ratzon‘s “wives” who managed to escape and file a police complaint, launching the covert inquiry that culminated with his arrest two years later.

Seven months ago he was indicted on charges of polygamy, rape, incest, enslavement and various forms of sexual abuse.

Prosecutors said Ratzon, 60, subjected his 21 partners and 38 children to strict disciplinary measures. For two decades he subjugated the women to satisfy his financial and sexual desires, the prosecutors said.

Recently, after she contacted the other women, she found out that the authorities helped them find housing, jobs and medical treatment, while she was offered none.

“I feel hurt,” she says. “After all the publicity and interviews they left me, a young woman of 24, to deal alone with something too big for me to handle. As far as they’re concerned, I’ve done my bit and they don’t need me anymore.”

Menachem Vegshel, deputy director general at the Social Affairs Ministry, confirmed that the women who were in the house at the time of the raid were looked after first. He said the first complainant wasn’t taken care of because “the police didn’t tell us there was any need.” He said the women with children were the ministry’s first priority.

The police said the ministry was involved from the start and knew of the complainant’s needs all along.

– Source / Full Story: Woman who escaped from cult leader accuses state of neglecting her case , Yaniv Kubovich, Haaretz, July 2, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Cult leader Goel Ratzon’s ‘wives’ begin lengthy treatment

Goel Ratzon Law enforcement and welfare officials have begun their attempt to bring ‘polygamist cult’ leader Goel Ratzon to justice, but experts told Ynet Tuesday that the process of rehabilitating the women ‘married’ to him would be a lengthy one.

Gabi Zohar, a social worker with years of experience caring for cult victims, explained that even the women who are rehabilitated will probably remain emotionally fragile. [Read more...]

Tel Aviv cult leader Goel Ratzon indicted on multiple charges, including rape

Goel Ratzon Israeli cult leader Goel Ratzon was indicted Sunday on multiple charges, including with rape, sodomy, enslavement, sexual abuse within the family and several other offenses.

“The suspect enslaved and appropriated his 21 wives for many years, in acts which contradict social norms, in a way which was common during the darkest times of human history,” the prosecutor said. [Read more...]

Experts: Polygamist Goel Ratzon ran ‘family’ as a cult

Goel Ratzon “The work of the police and the welfare services on this case would have been so much easier if Israel had specific anti-cult legislation,” says Dr Habi Zohar, a specialist on sects who counsels families who have lost members to cult activity.

Zohar also advises the Israeli Center for Cult Victims, which collected testimonies from Goel Ratzon’s wives over the past year. [Read more...]

Goel Ratzon’s cult: 17 women, 60 children and a climate of absolute obedience

Goel Ratzon The investigation of a suspected cult leader accused of raping and enslaving scores of women took a dramatic turn on Friday after one of his alleged victims gave indications that she may agree to cooperate with authorities.

It has also been revealed that one of Ratzon’s wives cooperated with the police, providing them with the evidence necessary to carry out the arrest. [Read more...]