According to Ezekiel, associations with Astarte (the sex goddess of Baal) ruined many Israelites and was a direct cause of the final overturning of the nation of Israel and the departing of the glory (presence) of Yahweh from the people and the nation.
6He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.
7And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall. 8Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. 9And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. 10So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about. 11And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up. 12Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.
13He said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. 14Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORDS house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. 15Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. 16And he brought me into the inner court of the LORDS house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. 17Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. 18Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.
From Bro. E. Wilson's book, Ezekiel and His Message, we learn:
Verse 14: "Tammuz" - Known variously to ancient pagans - a Syrian and Phoenician idol; Greek Adonis; Babylonian Bacchus (the lamented one); Egyptian Osiris; The consort and the son of Ashtaroth (Phoenician - 1 Sam. 7:3); the Queen of Heaven (Jer. 44:17). Greek Astarte (Ishtar) - identified by Hislop as Semiramus the wife of Nimrod, and by others as the wife of Ninus, Nimrod's successor. From the feast of Istar comes the "feast" of Easter. Tammuz was a sun-god who was killed as the lushness of Spring gave way to the drying heat of Summer. Ishtar mourned his loss, and descending into the nether regions, she brought him back to a resurrection as winter gave way to Spring...At this time each year Tammuz was mourned by women devotees.
Peloubet on Tammuz - The name means "son of life". Originally the sun-god, primarily of Babylonia; slain by a wild boar while hunting, and mourned long and vainly by the goddess Ishtar. He is generally identified with Adonis of Greek mythology, whose story is practically the same. According to Sayce, the Canaanites called him "Adonai" (lord), from which, when the myth reached Greece, became "Adonis". A festival in honour of Adonis was celebrated at Byblos in Phoenicia, and in most of the Grecian cities, and even by the Jews when they degenerated into idolatry. . . and was accompanied by obscene rights.
Unger on Tammuz - Tammuz was an ancient Akkadian deity whose worship spread throughout the Semitic world. He was the husband and brother of Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of procreation. In Babylonian legends Tammuz supposedly died in the fall, when vegetation dried up. He departed to the nether world, being recovered by the wailing Ishtar. Bursting buds of springtime marked his return to the upper world. Tammuz cults are thought to be referred to in Jer. 22:19; Amos 8:10; Zech. 12:10...The Tammuz-Ishtar cult was degrading, and thoroughly inconsonant with the chaste worship of Yahweh."
From Bro. J. Allfree's book, Ezekiel:
"...Public mourning marked the time of [Tammuz'] departure, and it would appear that this is what the women of Israel were doing in Ezekiel's vision. The reappearance of Tammuz and his union with Ishtar was the occasion for "worship" of a most licentious kind - a feature of the majority of the pagan religions with which Israel became entangled."
Bro. J. Thomas wrote of this time in Eureka: An Exposition of the Apocalypse:
"Israel, as dross, is exemplified in the denunciations of the prophets. Their drossiness is seen in the abominations they practised in burning incense to reptiles, and filthy beasts, and idols of every sort; in their women weeping for Tammuz, the Adonis of the Greeks; and in their worshipping the sun between the porch of the temple and the altar, with their backs towards the sanctuary of YahwehEzek. 8:718."