Women's Tragedy

Goel Ratzon is clearly the worst kind of chauvinist pig, but the women who loved him were taught much earlier to be blind.

If having a disgusting personality were considered a crime punishable by life imprisonment, Goel Ratzon (as well as may others) would be behind bars. He wouldn't even need the indictment filed against him, which more than facts, is full of moral shock and exaggeration.

Of course, the outrageous part of the indictment isn't the writer's disgust, but the charges against Ratzon, which include serious sexual offenses including rape, incest and statutory rape. If he is convicted, hopefully he will be sent to rot in jail, where he will learn some new things about hierarchy.

"The things Goel Ratzon did for years to the 21 women he subordinated to his will are remnants of the darkest periods in history," states the indictment. This raises the question, to which dark periods is the poet referring? To the period of King Solomon, who had 1,000 wives, or perhaps to the period of Hugh Hefner, the publisher of Playboy?

The indictment goes on to state, "Ratzon presented himself to the women as the highest being, as equal to the creator of the universe. He compelled his women to get tattoos of his name and to change their names, he wrote a book of rules and he created competition among the women, who fawned over him and wrote him love letters signed 'Your handmaiden.'"

He is clearly the worst kind of chauvinist pig, the sort that the "Association for Men's Rights" and perhaps magazines read with one hand could present as a model. According to the Center for Cult Victims and the Tassa-Glazer report of 1987, this was a cult whose collective life focused on its leader, and obtaining money for the leader. There was an absence of outside supervision, and a negative self-image was nutured among the believers, who were separated from their families, their independent thoughts suppressed and their perception of reality altered.

However, according to the Center for Cult Victims, dozens of cults are active in Israel, from Iman and Transcendental Meditation, which have received state land for their activities, through Shai Tubali's cult and Scientology, to Rabbi Shraga Berg's Kabbalah Center and Rabbi Michael Leitman's Bnei Baruch group, whose members - well-known entertainment figures - glorify his name unimpeded. Many cultlike characteristics are also found in extremist ultra-Orthodox groups, including groups of the newly observant. Yet Israel has no law against cults, and therefore all these cults and quasi-cults are able to operate unhindered.

The sad story here is the story of the women, and not just Ratzon's women. It is not by chance that there have been no woman-led cults here since Rina Shani's death in India in the 1980s. A random check, in the spirit of the holiday of love, finds that the role of blind consumer is most often played by women. Every man, whatever his intelligence, income, age, health, looks and even personal status, will find enough blind buyers on online matchmaking sites.

Imagine Ratzon's female equivalent - a woman of 60-plus, or even 40-plus, not especially good-looking, with tons of children and no income of her own. What are the chances she would succeed in persuading more than one man, never mind 20 of them, to serve her, provide for all her needs and make her an adored queen?

The chances are extremely slim. Not because men are smarter, but because our society is patriarchal and chauvinist.

There are many women for whom life without a man - any man, even one who abuses her and her children - is comparable to death. Apparently, women chose Ratzon because they never had any will of their own and never felt they had the right to run their own lives.

The solution is not only putting all disgusting men in prison, but also opening the blind women's eyes to see that each and every one is the creator of her own world.