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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, The 21 Wives Of Goel Ratzon by Hadas Cohen brings Ratzon’s reign of terror to an international audience, with a true account of spiritual indoctrination, manipulation, abuse and incest by the Israeli cult leader.
The 21 Wives Of Goel Ratzon
Guaranteed to pique the interest of those with a passion for true crime, The 21 Wives Of Goel Ratzon By Hadas Cohen is the deeply disturbing story of an Israeli cult leader posing as a righteous healer who cloaked himself in a guide of benevolence and spirituality, and turned his victims into subservient plural wives and bearers of his 50 children.
Despite the lack of widespread awareness about Goel Ratzon due to a prior press embargo because of the sensitive and sexual nature of his crimes, Hadas Cohen eloquently details this monstrous figure, uncovering Ratzon’s cult from his early days to the present. Hadas Cohen’s determination to bring this story out of the shadows captivates with its detail, complexity, humanity, and relevance.
The story uncovers the disturbing saga of Goel Ratzon, a 59-year-old from Tel Aviv whose arrest in 2010 revealed a secretive cult that included over 20 women and 50 children.
Born an illiterate Yemeni immigrant, Ratzon came under the scrutiny of Tel Aviv’s police following an outcry from families who had tragically lost their teenage daughters to his cult. These girls, some as young as 16, abandoned their education and families, entranced by the teachings of Ratzon.
Portraying himself as the Messiah and claiming to possess every masculine attribute a woman could desire, Ratzon’s enigmatic figure pledged women from all walks of life to erase their egos and join his polygamous family. Oftentimes, whole families were enticed to become Ratzon’s wives, such as a mother and her three teen daughters. In his deviousness, Ratzon had infiltrated a suburban high school by offering spiritual consultation and support to local teens, then indoctrinated dozens to join his cult and bear his children.
The question that loomed after Ratzon’s conviction and 30-year prison sentence was: How did a working-class, uneducated man in his late 40s profoundly enchant intelligent, beautiful women, often in their early teens, compelling them to bear him up to 9 children each, and work in housekeeping to fund his opulent lifestyle?
In searching for a unique project, I turned to my international experiences. A significant true crime story caught my attention during a visit to Israel. It centered on Goel Ratzon, a cult leader with over 20 wives and 50 children. Despite his age and frailty, his wives were young and vibrant, leaving me to wonder about their attraction to him.
While many case details were initially sealed due to Ratzon’s abuse of minors, they eventually emerged through leaked court documents, media coverage, and survivor accounts.-Hadas Cohen
Hadas grew up in a well-travelled family. Her childhood took her across South Africa, Spain, Israel, Greece, and Turkey, immersing her in diverse cultures and histories. In 2019, amidst the coronavirus lockdown, Hadas developed a keen interest in true crime and criminology, leading her to pursue a specialization in psychology with a focus on criminology. Her primary interest lies in the realm of cult psychology.
She is particularly fascinated by the intersection of faith and submission and has extensively studied many recent cult leaders whose victims predominantly belonged to the secular, self-reliant millennial generation. This fascination led her to choose Goel Ratzon, a notorious yet globally obscure cult leader, as the subject of her first project.
Hadas believes that many compelling true crime stories remain untold due to language barriers. She is dedicated to bringing these stories to a global audience, shedding light on these lesser-known narratives. Currently, Hadas resides in New England, US, with her family and two dogs.
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