Jerusalem Churches Launch Christmas Blood Libel Claiming They Are Persecuted by JewsBy David Israel and Caruso’s Favorite Chazzan By Saul Jay Singer and The Varied Career Path Of A Rabbi By Rabbi Aron White and Wave Power is Coming to Israel’s Electricity Grid and L.A. police detective warns visitors not to come to city
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
The Sun Times' Justin Welby and Hosam Naoum last weekend served up a blood libel against Jews in Israel in general and religious Jews reclaiming property in Jerusalem in particular, under a headline reminiscent of the good old days of Julius Streicher and Joseph Goebbels: "Let us pray for the Christians being driven from the Holy Land." Yes, folks, the only thing missing from this revolting article is a carton of a hooked-nose Jew throwing innocent Christian infants out to the street.
Throughout the Holy Land, Christians have become the target of frequent and sustained attacks by fringe radical groups. Since 2012 there have been countless incidents of physical and verbal assaults against priests and other clergy, attacks on Christian churches, with holy sites regularly vandalized and desecrated, and ongoing intimidation of local Christians who simply seek to worship freely and go about their daily lives. These tactics are being used by such radical groups in a systematic attempt to drive the Christian community out of Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land.
Naturally, "fringe radical groups" is code for right-wing religious Jews, we get that. But what's missing from the statement is evidence.
Another sentence by the Patriarchs states:
Yet radical groups continue to acquire strategic property in the Christian Quarter, with the aim of diminishing the Christian presence, often using underhanded healings and intimidation tactics to evict residents from their homes, dramatically decreasing the Christian presence, and further disrupting the historic pilgrim routes between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
Parsing that sentence it says, Jews are buying property in Jerusalem, and we don't like that, especially when the presence of Jews between Bethlehem and Jerusalem bothers us. Oh, and the Jews are conniving thieves who trick Christians into selling their property.
Here's what the Sunday Times piece provided by way of proving their astonishing libel:
The Romanian Orthodox monastery in Jerusalem was vandalized during Lent in March this year, the fourth attack in a month. During Advent last December, someone lit a fire in the Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Someone certainly did it, but was it necessarily a Jew? Here are a couple more juicy paragraphs:
Christmas is a time when we think about the land of the Bible. We hear readings and sing carols that name Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem. These are places that are familiar to billions of Christians, whether they have visited them or not. But we should not romanticize them — and especially not this Christmas.
Last week church leaders in Jerusalem raised an unprecedented and urgent alarm call. In a joint statement, they said Christians throughout the Holy Land had become the target of frequent and sustained attacks by fringe radical groups.
They described "countless incidents" of physical and verbal assaults against priests and other clergy, and attacks on Christian churches. They spoke of holy sites being regularly vandalized and desecrated, and the ongoing intimidation of local Christians as they go about their worship and daily lives.
So who is driving Christians from the Land of Israel according to the Sunday Times? Here we go:
These tactics are being used by such radical groups "in a systematic attempt to drive the Christian community out of Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land", the Jerusalem church leaders said in their statement.
That is why, when you speak to Palestinian Christians in Jerusalem today, you will often hear this cry: "In 15 years' time, there'll be none of us left!"
And of course they didn't forget to blame "the growth of settler communities," all those Jewish babies have somehow created a situation of isolated "Christian villages and curtailed economic and social possibilities."
And the Patriarchs suggest Israeli law enforcement agencies collaborate with those "radicals":
It is therefore a matter of grave concern when this national commitment is betrayed by the failure of local politicians, officials, and law enforcement agencies to curb the activities of radical groups who regularly intimidate local Christians, assault priests, and clergy, and desecrate Holy Sites and church properties.
Here's a question: could it be someone other than "radical Jews?" Could it be a different group, with a long record of pushing Christian Arabs out of the Land of Israel as well as from the rest of the Middle East, which includes the Palestinian Authority? Could it be … the Muslims?
On April 25, the terrified residents of the Christian village of Jifna near Ramallah asked the PA to protect them after they were attacked by Muslim gunmen. The violence erupted after a woman from the village submitted a complaint to the police that the son of a prominent, Fatah-affiliated leader had attacked her family. In response, dozens of Fatah gunmen came to the village, fired hundreds of bullets in the air, threw petrol bombs while shouting curses, and caused severe damage to public property. It was a miracle that there were no dead or wounded.
Dr. Cohen also reported:
The second incident occurred during the night of May 13. Vandals broke into a church of the Maronite community in the center of Bethlehem, desecrated it, and stole expensive equipment belonging to the church, including the security cameras.
Three days later it was the turn of the Anglican church in the village of Aboud, west of Ramallah. Vandals cut through the fence, broke the windows of the church, and broke in. They desecrated it, looked for valuable items, and stole a great deal of equipment.
As in the two previous incidents, no suspects were arrested.
In and around Bethlehem, Christians have gone from around 80 percent of the population just after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1950, to around 12 percent today.
The gist of the NBC article is to blame the Zionist Christians in America for supporting Jewish settlements at the expense of Christian Arabs, but Israel did not control Bethlehem in 1950 – it only conquered the city in 1967. And the crawling expulsion of Christians from Bethlehem was not carried out by Jews – no Jews live in Bethlehem. It was a persistent takeover by the Muslims through a campaign of fear and intimidation that has been documented over the decades.
Israel's Foreign Ministry rejected the insidious claims of both the Church folks and the Sunday Times, and stated on Monday that the Christian population in Israel "enjoys full freedom of religion and worship, is constantly growing, and is part of the unique fabric of Israeli society." The ministry also stressed that Israel is "committed to freedom of religion and worship for all religions, as well to ensuring the freedom of access to holy sites."
"The statement by Church leaders in Jerusalem is particularly infuriating given their silence on the plight of many Christian communities in the Middle East suffering from discrimination and persecution," the Foreign Ministry stated, adding: "Religious leaders have a critical role to play in education for tolerance and coexistence, and Church leaders should be expected to understand their responsibility and the consequences of what they have published, which could lead to violence and bring harm to innocent people."
The foreign ministry can't come outright and say it, so we will: Church leaders in the Land of Israel often turn a blind eye when the people pushing their flock around are not Jewish. It's the practical thing to do when you deal with violent Muslims. It's the Christian practice all over the world. So, good luck and a merry Nittel Nacht…
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Wave Power is Coming to Israel's Electricity Grid
Wave energy will be connected to the country's power system for the first time in "three to four months."
"Our company developed a unique innovative technology for the generation of clean energy from ocean and sea waves," said Inna Braverman, co-founder and CEO of Eco Wave Power in an interview with CTech at Calcalist's Energy conference last week.
"We did something that is very different in our industry, 99 percent of our competitors decided to go offshore, and we connected to the on and near-shore by connecting the equipment to existing man-made structures such as piers and others, which already interfered with the environment. So we take something that is not used for anything and turn it into a source of clean energy."
"The project we are currently building is the project in Israel, which I am very excited about. It will be the first time in the history of Israel that wave energy will officially connect to the national electrical grid, it is a huge breakthrough," Braverman said. "We expect to open it in three to four months, so soon, the power station is already in the Jaffa port."
"We are just waiting for the arrival of the floaters, then to finish the connection to the grid. This is something I am really passionate about because I always wanted to do a project in my home country."
When further asked about building a project in Israel and the cooperation between the local government and business sector, Braverman applauded Israeli support, stating the Jaffa project is "50% co-founded by the Israeli Energy Ministry and the Office of the Chief Scientist."
However, there is room for improvement, Braverman noted.
"Because wave energy is kind of the new on the block of renewables, many governmental bodies did not have the time to sit properly and set tariffs, licensing procedures for wave energy. So sometimes it takes us longer to understand what are the licenses needed, or how to connect to the grid than it is to build a power station, and that is too bad," she said.
"We have seen in COP 2026 that Israel wants to be at the forefront of renewable energy as well, and we are great at being at the forefront of many different fields, and in order to do it, we need more support, not only in terms of financial support and investment but really setting the policies for new technologies," Braverman added.
What do a pulpit rabbi in Memphis, an elementary school teacher in Sacramento and a kashrut mashgiach in Shanghai have in common? Despite their great differences, all are fulfilling a genuine and important rabbinic role, and these are just some of the varied occupations a rabbi can undertake. From prison chaplain to yeshiva rebbe, from outreach professional to the publishing of sefarim, there are a great number of career routes a Rabbi can take.
This has always been the case – no two rabbinic career paths are the same, and in fact the lives of our greatest rabbinic luminaries differed in very significant ways. Some rabbis, such as Rashi, spent their entire life in one relatively confined area of the Jewish world (Ashkenaz), whereas others, such as the Ibn Ezra, traveled thousands of miles throughout numerous communities across the world. The timelines of rabbinic careers also differ greatly. Rav Samson Refoel Hirsch published his 19 Letters and Horeb, his two most famous works, before he was 30. The Maharal of Prague on the other hand, did not publish his first work until the age of 66. Even the routes of entry to the Rabbinate differ greatly. By the time he was a young adult, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik had spent years in the company of the leading rabbis of Europe, absorbed in an atmosphere suffused with Talmudic brilliance. On the other hand, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks spent his young adult years pursuing philosophy at Cambridge University, and making bus trips across the United States, searching for religious guidance and meaning that would ultimately bring him to his incredible rabbinic career.
While this is interesting and to some extent validating for a young rabbi, it also can leave one confused. How does one approach a career in a field with so many options, where it is unclear what step will come next, and how one's career trajectory will play out?
In one of my favorite divrei Torah, Rabbi Soloveitchik offers an insight that may give us some guidance. The opening pasuk of Chayei Sarah says that Sarah lived for "100 years and 20 years and seven years." Commenting on the unnecessarily long wording of the pasuk, Rashi writes that the Torah is seeking to draw an equivalence: "At 100 she was without sin as at 20, and at 20 she was as beautiful as she was at age seven." Rabbi Soloveitchik profoundly explains that what is being described is the relationship between three periods in Sarah's life: her childhood, her youth and her adult years. "The child is endowed with a capacity of an all-absorbing faith and trustfulness; youth bursts with zealousness, idealism and optimism; the adult, mellowed with years, has the benefit of accumulated knowledge and dispassionate judgment. Each age is physically and psychologically attuned to particular emphases, but the superior individual can retain and harmonize the positive strengths of all three periods during his entire lifetime."
The mark of a life well lived is the ability to take the unique experiences and lessons from each stage of life, and bring them with us as we move on to the next stage. Sarah was at once childlike, youthful and mature, expressing the qualities of all these stages as the cumulative development of her persona.
This lesson can help frame the way we see our rabbinic careers. Having begun a journey, filled with the experiences we gained through our semicha studies: The Torah we learned in shiurim and the Beit Midrash, the communal insight learned in practical Rabbinics classes, and the sensitivity achieved through classes on pastoral counseling. From here onwards, our paths will diverge. Some will quickly find their niche and calling, and others have more varied paths, trying one role, then finding an unexpected opportunity on the other side of the country, before settling down in a third role, one they might never have even seen themselves fulfilling.
Regardless of the path, there will hopefully be meaningful experiences at each step along the way. If we can always be learning, growing and taking those insights and experiences with us, then we will be able to live a life like that of Sarah, which as Rashi comments: "Kulan Shavin LeTovah"; despite the difference of experience at each stage, all of her years were equal in their fundamental goodness. If we can always learn and grow, then wherever our careers take us, we will be able to say that the years we spend in the Rabbinate are "Kulan Shavin LeTovah," – all equal in the good we do for the Torah, Land and People of Israel.
Reprinted with permission from the 5782 Chag Hasemikhah edition of Yeshiva University's Benjamin and Rose Berger Torah To-Go publication
He was often called "the Jewish Caruso," but it may be more accurate to refer to Enrico Caruso as "the gentile Yossele Rosenblatt." In fact, Caruso claimed that the cantor's voice was among the best he had ever heard.
Josef "Yossele" Rosenblatt, as "the King of Chazzanim" and as the leader of the "Golden Age of Cantorial Music," was renowned for his almost unbelievable two-and-a-half octave range, his amazing cantillation technique, his rich and elaborate coloratura, his flair for improvisation, and his extraordinary ability to move seamlessly between a warm baritone, a sweet tenor, and the purest high-range falsetto. He famously initiated the use of several techniques that have become cantorial standards, including his trademark krekhz (sobbing crack in his voice), which evoked a conversation with G-d, the essence of true tefillah, and exhibited the depth of the emotion of his prayers. He was also a tremendous talmid chacham celebrated for his lifetime commitment to halacha in the face of enormous temptation.
Drawing on the Chasidic musical tradition of his family and community, Rosenblatt was also a prolific composer; by his early twenties, he had published Shirei Yosef ("the Songs of Yossele"), which featured some 150 choral pieces. He made his first record at age 23, and almost 200 of his recordings have been preserved. (As an interesting side note, Shir Hama'alot, as sung by Yossele, was a serious candidate to serve as the Zionist National Anthem.)
By the time he commenced an extensive tour across the United States in 1927, he had become a musical and cantorial superstar renowned by both Jewish and gentile opera aficionados. He was, of course, particularly beloved by Jews, most of whom had come to the United States as refugees in the early 20th century, who experienced culture in the context of the synagogue and considered listening to a cantor perform akin to their fellow Americans going to an opera house.
Even while becoming a shining star in the entertainment firmament, the diminutive 5-foot-tall cantor always remained true to his Orthodox Jewish faith and always performed in his long black beard and wearing his traditional large black yarmulke and frock coat. He famously turned down many lucrative engagements because his faith prohibited his playing fictional characters and singing onstage with women. Manifesting his passionate Jewish pride, he always made a point to be characterized as a "Jewish tenor," rather than as a Russian tenor or any other title relating to the land of his ancestors.
Born in Bila Tserkva, a Ukrainian shtetl 50 miles from Kiev with a long history of pogroms, the son of a Ruzhiner Chasid and the descendant of a long line of cantors, Rosenblatt (1882-1933) began as a singer in the local synagogue choir because his strict Orthodox observance prevented him attending any musical academy. Quickly recognized as a musical child prodigy, he traveled through the Pale of Settlement at age eight as an itinerant boy cantor, and he gained even greater fame through a tour across the Austro-Hungarian empire at age 17. He accepted a full-time position as a cantor for the Chasidic community of Munkacs, Hungary, which was followed in quick succession with shtellas (full-time positions) in Pressburg (1901) and cosmopolitan Hamburg (1906), where he first heard Caruso – a seminal event in his life and career that broadened his concept of the vocal possibilities of chazzanut.
The era of the "celebrity cantor" in America began at the end of the 19th century and continued into the first decades of the 20th century, when some 2.5 million Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe arrived in the United States and competition for the greatest cantors became fierce. Yossele was lured to the United States in 1911 with his wife and children to accept a position with Congregation Ohev Tzedek on 116th Street in Harlem (it later relocated to the West Side), one of New York's leading synagogues, which paid him an astronomical and then-inconceivable salary of $2,400 (almost $700,000 in today's dollars).
In New York, he became the "go to" chazzan for the Jewish community's philanthropic events, but his most legendary performance may have been his May 1917 appearance at the Hippodrome Theater to raise funds for Jews suffering in Europe during World War I. The event, which drew a record 6,000 attendees – then the largest ever gathering of Jews in the United States – raised an astonishing $250,000 (over $50 million in today's dollars).
The concert at the Hippodrome launched Yossele on a 30-city tour across the United States. Attending the final stop of the tour in Chicago was Cleofonte Campanini, the general director of the Chicago Opera, who offered him $1,000 a night – and later $2,000 (about $36,000 in today's dollars) – to sing the leading role of Eleazar in Fromenthal Halevy's grand opera, La Juive ("The Jewess"), which tells the tale of the impossible love between a Christian man and a Jewish woman in Constance in 1414.
Aware of Yossele's religious observance and limitations, but nonetheless determined to have him perform for the opera, Campanini offered a contract which would not require him to rehearse or perform on Shabbat or on the Jewish holidays; would provide kosher food in accordance with his high standards; and would permit him to keep his beard throughout the engagement. Moreover, believing that Yossele's objection to singing with females was limited to performing with gentile women, Yossele was assured that his co-star would be the Jewish Rosa Raisa.
Pulling out all stops, the great Arturo Toscanini personally entreated Yossele to accept the engagement, but he ultimately declined it on the grounds that he would only use his G-d-given talent to sing in prayer or otherwise to promote Hashem's glory: "I have no desire to obtain glory for myself at the hands of aristocratic non-Jews who might come to the opera to see for themselves how a Jew forsakes his G-d and forswears his religion and his people on account of money." However, he deeply appreciated the offer and, not wishing to offend Campanini, he used the president of his synagogue to provide cover for him by writing to Campanini that "the Rev. Rosenblatt's sacred position in the synagogue does not permit him to enter the operatic stage."
Two striking ironies resulted in the wake of Yossele's declining to play Eleazar. First, Caruso accepted the role, his final role at the Metropolitan Opera (his last performance was on December 24, 1920), where La Juive continued as a repertory staple of the Opera for well over a decade.
Second, Yossele's stance only increased his appeal because people wanted to experience for themselves the performing sensation who was so firm in his beliefs that he could turn down such a lucrative offer. Having become even more popular – if that were even possible – he continued his work on behalf of the War Savings Campaign to even larger audiences, including a notable al fresco performance on the steps of The New York Public Library to raise money for war bonds. At that concert, he sang the Star-Spangled Banner, Zelner fun Tzion ("Soldiers of Zion"), and one of his most beloved standards, Keili, Keili, after which the great Caruso ascended the library stairs and kissed him.
After mastering a selection of operatic arias and a repertoire of other ethnic songs to supplement his cantorial selections, Yossele gave his first of many recitals at Carnegie Hall on May 19, 1918, which met with broad acclaim, drew the attention of the major media, and launched him into super-stardom. He also performed a recital at the Metropolitan Opera after World War I, which was attended by 10,000 Jewish refugees, and benefit concerts at many other venues, including a concert at Sing Sing for the inmates. Reviewers were particularly impressed by the expansion of his repertoire to include extraordinary renditions of non-cantorial works, but his "bread and butter" pieces remained chazzanut and Yiddish songs.
To fight off offers from other congregations, Ohev Tzedek was now paying Yossele a record salary of $10,000 a year and he was also earning huge concert fees and royalties from his records. However, even with a substantial income, Yossele had huge expenses, including not only supporting his own wife and eight children, but also assuming financial responsibility for his entire extended family. Moreover, he was a tremendous baal tzedakah, and the many Jewish organizations that asked for his help were not only treated to a benefit concert, but often also received a donation out of his own pocket. In addition, he never turned charity-seekers away from his door empty-handed; Yossele's son characterized the Rosenblatt home as "a paradise of schnorrers" (beggars).
In the early 1920s, Yossele invested in Dos Yiddishe Licht ("The Jewish Light"), a novel Jewish periodical published in English, Yiddish, and Hebrew, for two reasons: first, because he deeply believed in the importance of presenting an authentic Torah alternative to American secular Jews, who were being informed by non-religious "cultural" papers such as The Forward, and second, because he believed that the success of the publication would assure his financial freedom. However, the paper, which was ahead of its time, went under, and the financially unsophisticated cantor had been tricked into signing on as the paper's guarantor; as such, when the venture failed, he was liable for $200,000 and was forced to file for bankruptcy protection.
The Depression came soon after, and he was dismissed by his shul (for financial reasons), and concert bookings became almost nonexistent, the result of which was that Yossele was left penniless.
Though his debts had been dismissed in bankruptcy and he was under no legal obligation to do so, Yossele was determined to make each of his creditors whole. The former superstar was thus reduced to performing on the traveling vaudeville circuit as "The Man with the $50,000 Beard," an undignified, but necessary, experience. Nonetheless, he became the biggest star of vaudeville, appearing on stage with the likes of Will Rogers, Sophie Tucker, and Douglas Fairbanks, and he was invited to meet with President Calvin Coolidge and Charlie Chaplin.
A few years later, Rosenblatt was offered $100,000 (over $1.5 million in today's dollars) to sing Kol Nidre as the protagonist's father in the first talking picture, The Jazz Singer (1927), a play based upon the life of Asa Yoelson – stage name, Al Jolson. The protagonist, Jackie Rabinovich, who was played by Jolson himself, is the son of a cantor who came to New York as a refugee from Eastern Europe and who pleads with his son to follow in his footsteps, but Jackie leaves home and becomes a jazz singer. On the evening of his big show, which is the evening of Yom Kippur, he receives a call from his mother that his estranged father is dying and, after an emotional internal struggle, he ditches his showcase and appears at the synagogue in time to sing Kol Nidre in place of his ill father.
Yossele turned down the offer for his usual religious reasons and, in particular, because he considered it a sacrilege to sing Kol Nidre in a secular setting. Desperate to find some way to have him perform in the film, however, Warner Bros. wrote in a cameo scene where Rabinovich/Jolson attends a concert in Chicago, where he hears Yossele (playing himself) singing a non-religious Yiddish song. After hearing Yossele, Jolson is moved to his deepest soul and considers whether he might be making a serious error in forsaking his father's traditions for modernity and stardom.
In 1933, Kol Ohr, an American film company, offered Yossele an opportunity to come to Eretz Yisrael to make a Zionist film for the purpose of increasing American Jewish support for a Jewish state, where he would perform songs at various biblical sites related to that site. Although his fee was to be contingent upon the financial success of the film, he agreed to perform for two reasons: first, to gain temporary reprieve from his creditors and, second, to be able to see and experience the beloved Holy Land for the first time. He became a close friend of Rav Kook and was so enamored by the holy spirit of the land that he decided to make aliyah.
Yossele was standing in a rowboat in the Jordan River singing Betzeit Yisrael Mi'Mitzrayim ("when the Jews left the Egyptian enslavement") when he became very ill and, sadly, died of a heart attack at the all-too young age of 51. There were 5,000 attendees at his funeral in Jerusalem, and 2,500 people attended a special ceremony held in his memory at Carnegie Hall.
Exhibited here is a remarkable rarity: a ticket for a benefit concert by Yossele at the Edison Theatre in Jerusalem for the Committee for the Aid of Russian Jews scheduled for June 21, 1933 – two days after his untimely death. The Edison Theatre, opened only a year earlier, was a movie theatre and concert venue that served as home for the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra.
In Yossele's obituary, the New York Times noted, "He was so well known in this country that letters from Europe addressed to `Yossele Rosenblatt, America,' reached him promptly." Almost eight decades after his death, his impact on the cantorial arts endures; his liturgical compositions are still standards of the Ashkenazic musical repertoire; his recordings remain very popular among chazzanut aficionados; and he remains the standard against which all cantors are measured.
L.A. police detective warns visitors not to come to city
Art Moore (WND NEWSCENTER) A Los Angeles Police Department detective is advising visitors not to come to his city because he can't guarantee that he and his law enforcement colleagues can keep them safe.
Jamie McBride pointed to the policies of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and progressive district attorneys who are "advocating for the criminals."
"We're telling people don't visit because we don't think we can keep you safe right now," he said Monday in an interview with Fox News.
Crime, including "smash-and-grab" robberies, he said, has increased in the wake of a "zero bail" policy and the state's Proposition 47, which reduced shoplifting theft of $950 or less from a felony to a misdemeanor.
The Los Angeles Times reported violent crime rates have been rising in the city for two years while property crimes have changed modestly. Car thefts are up nearly 53% and homicides are up 46.7% from 2019.
And, the paper reported, the crime wave has affected "the safest, wealthiest neighborhoods" in the L.A. area, with violent crime in Beverly Hills rising 23% in the last two years.
Last Wednesday, philanthropist Jacqueline Avant was killed in her Beverly Hills home.
Oprah Winfrey mourned her death on Twitter.
"The fact that this has happened, her being shot and killed in her own home … has shaken the laws of the Universe," Winfrey wrote.
Dominick DeLuca, owner of a local skateboard shop, told the Times he has "never seen anything like it," saying his shop has been broken into three times in the past two years.
On Monday, the head of the union that represents nearly 1,000 prosecutors in Los Angeles County accused District Attorney George Gascon of remaining silent during the surge in burglaries and robberies, which have become increasingly violent, Fox News reported.
Eric Siddall, vice president of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, said Gascón cares more about the rights of criminal suspects than crime victims.
Gascón, in his inaugural speech in December 2020, vowed to reverse crime policies he regarded as too harsh. Among his controversial moves was his announcement last month that he would release a convicted murderer who had served only six years of his 50-year sentence. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has charged that some of Gascón's policies have emboldened criminals.
Last Thursday, L.A. Police Department Chief Michel Moore and Mayor Eric Garcetti criticized policies allowing nonviolent arrestees to be released without bail.
Gov. Newsom is blaming his state's big cities for the crime wave, charging they are not enforcing the law against thieves.
"Police need to arrest them. Prosecutors need to prosecute them. Judges need to hold people accountable for breaking the law," Newsom said. "These are not victimless crimes, and I have no empathy for these criminal elements."
"We have to talk about specifics because, for example, we're actually seeing a lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out," the congresswoman said. "I believe it's a Walgreens in California cited it, but the data didn't back it up."
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