Suspected Tel Aviv cult leader Goel Ratzon, under arrest on suspicion of rape and enslavement, claimed prior to a remand hearing on Wednesday that he is being threatened by police interrogators.

Refusing to elaborate on the nature of the threats, Ratzon also said he did not understand why he was arrested, since “stroking” minors did not constitute rape.

Ratzon, who fathered dozens of children from at least 17 women, is suspected of a series of rape, harassment and enslavement offenses committed over a period of more than a decade.

During Wednesday’s hearing at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, the 59-year-old was ordered held in custody until Sunday, when he is expected to be indicted.

He was arrested on January 11 on charges that at least one of the women had been held by him against her will.


Together with the Israel Police, social services launched a massive operation to break up what was described as “the biggest cult in Israel,” and to take the children and their mothers into protective care.

Ruth Eglash contributed to this report.

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