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Messianic Jew Killed in San Bernardino Had Argument on Islam with Shooter

(JNS.org) One of the 14 victims of the Dec. 2 terror attack in San Bernardino, Calif., was a Messianic Jew who purportedly had previously gotten into a heated debate with one of the shooters over the nature of Islam. Nicholas Thalasinos, 52, was a fellow health inspector with one of the terrorists, Syed Rizwan Farook, Thalasinos’s wife Jennifer told the Los Angeles Times.

“My husband was just a very devout believer,” she said. “He became born again a couple of years ago and because of that I had a very strong faith, so I know that he’s in a much better place.”

Messianic Jews are a controversial Christian group whose adherents believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but incorporate many Jewish components into their faith. While no major Jewish denomination accepts the followers as Jewish, many are often former Jews [born as Jews] and support Israel.

Only two weeks ago, Thalasinos, who had pro-Israel views, apparently got into a heated argument with Farook about the nature of Islam.

Thalasinos’s friend, Kuuleme Stephens, told The Associated Press that she called him while he was working with Farook and that amid their debate, Thalasinos declared that Farook “doesn’t agree that Islam is not a peaceful religion.” She heard Farook counter that Americans don’t understand Islam, and Thalasinos responded by saying, “I don’t know how to talk with him.”

Jennifer Thalasinos told The Associated Press that Farook and her late husband “probably did have debates,” but that she “never got the impression it was in a bad way.”

Meanwhile, it has been reported that the San Bernardino shooters swore allegiance to the Islamic State terror group during the attack. According to CNN, the female shooter—Tashfeen Malik—posted a pledge of allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Facebook, U.S. officials said.


Customs Officials Intercept 4,000 Dolls Promoting Anti-Israel Incitement

(JNS.org) A shipment of 4,000 dolls with anti-Israel clothing and messaging were intercepted by Haifa customs officials on their way to Palestinian Authority territory on Tuesday.

Each plush doll, intended to incite Palestinians against Israel, had a keffiyeh covering its face, one arm raised with a rock in its hand, and a banner in Palestinian colors with the text “Jerusalem is ours” and “Jerusalem we are coming!”

“The customs department continues its daily work in preventing smuggling into Israel with an emphasis on smuggling weapons and preventing the infiltration of inciting material—especially in this climate,” Haifa customs director Coby Yahav said.

The seized containers were imported to Israel from the United Arab Emirates and were labeled as clothing, rugs, and plastic products. In addition to the dolls, inspectors found light bulbs and military boots.



Israel Arrests Five Islamic State Followers From Nazareth

(JNS.org) Israeli security forces arrested five Arab youths from Nazareth on suspicion of planning terror attacks on behalf of Islamic State, the Shin Bet security agency said Tuesday.

The men—ages 18, 18, 22, 23, and 27—went through a radicalization process in which they trained with weapons and held secret meetings expressing allegiance to Islamic State. The Shin Bet said, “It emerged that in the past year, the youths obtained firearms and trained with them, while becoming more devout during meetings they held. They expressed support for ISIS, and praised the jihad against infidels.”

Both the Shin Bet and the Israel Police Northern District carried out the arrests during October and November. The Arab men, who came from the Suleiman clan in the northern part of Nazareth, were charged with illegal possession of weapons, participating in illegal meetings, and supporting an illegal organization.


Swedish PM Says Palestinian Stabbings Not Terror, Then Revises Remarks

(JNS.org) Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said the ongoing wave of Palestinian stabbing attacks in Israel does not constitute terrorism, then attempted to walk back his comments.

“No, it is not classified as such. There is an international classification regarding what constitutes or does not constitute [terrorism]. As far as I know, the [stabbing attacks in Israel] are not defined as terror,” Lofven told the Swedish TT news agency.

Lofven tried to clarify his comments a few hours later.

“I meant that it was unclear if the knife attacks are organized by a group classified as a terrorist organization,” he said. “Nonetheless, the attacks themselves do constitute terror.”

Relations between Israel and Sweden have been strained over the last year, starting with Sweden’s recognition of the Palestinian Authority as the “State of Palestine.” Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom this week sparked controversy by accusing Israel of “extrajudicial executions” of Palestinians without trials. Wallstrom also recently blamed the Paris terror attacks on “Palestinian frustration” with Israel.


Poll: 71% of Israeli Jews Say Peace Deal Would Not End Palestinian Terror

(JNS.org) Seventy-one percent of Israeli Jews said that signing an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal would not bring an end to Palestinian terrorism against Jews, according to the latest Peace Index poll from the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University. Israeli Arab respondents exhibited the diametrically opposite view, with 72 percent saying that a peace deal would in fact halt terror. Sixty-one percent of Israeli Jews, meanwhile, believe the current wave of terror emerged with the planning and guidance of Palestinian leaders.

Less than half (45 percent) of Israeli Jews believe that the Western and Arab forces fighting Islamic State have a high chance of destroying the jihadist terror group, the poll said. A majority of Israeli Jews (59 percent) said most Muslims do not support Islamic State, 58 percent said Israeli Arabs do not support the terror group, and 10 percent said they are “sure” Israeli Arabs do support Islamic State. A majority of Israeli Jewish respondents agreed that destroying Islamic State would not weaken radical Islam in general.


Angela Merkel Named Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’

(Jpost) Time Magazine named German Chancellor Angela Merkel its 2015 “Person of the Year” on Wednesday, noting her resilience and leadership when faced with the Syrian refugee crisis and turmoil in the European Union over its currency this year.

In a statement explaining the magazine’s choice, managing editor Nancy Gibbs said despite crises in the region that caused “reason to wonder whether Europe could continue to exist,” Merkel, 61, emerged as an “indispensable player.”

“For asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply, Angela Merkel is TIME’s Person of the Year,” Gibbs wrote.

In response to the news, the German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said he was sure the chancellor would cherish it as an incentive in her job.

Merkel, elected to her position in 2005, has been called the most powerful politician on the planet and is the first woman to lead Germany.

Time noted her leadership this year in leading the West’s response to Vladimir Putin’s “creeping theft of Ukraine” and welcoming refugees to Germany despite “the reflex to slam doors, build walls and trust no one.”

Merkel topped a short list of finalists that included US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who came in third, and Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was runner-up.

She is the first individual woman to hold the title in 29 years, though women have been honored as part of a group. Last year, a group of Ebola doctors and survivors won the title.



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