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FOX News Segment Postulates Real Birthplace of Jesus Not in the West Bank

Reported by Marie Therese - December 27, 2007 -

Bethlehem of Judea, located in the West Bank, has traditionally been accepted by Christians as the town where Jesus was born. The West Bank is an area controlled by the Palestinians and, as such, Christian worshipers frequently find themselves caught in the middle of Palestinian-Israeli skirmishes. For example, in 2002 the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was threatened by Israeli tanks. Later, according to Wikipedia, "the construction by Israel of the West Bank barrier ... had a severely negative impact on Bethlehem; politically, socially, and economically." With video.

The Bush administration has declared that it intends to broker a lasting peace between Israel and the West Bank Palestinians, now governed by the Fatah party. Hamas, the legally elected Palestianin ruling party, has been relegated to the Gaza strip. In an ironic turn of events, the Fatah party - which was listed by the CIA as a terrorist organization when it was led by Yasser Arafat - has suddenly become America's new best friend. The Bush administration now supports and negotiates with Fatah despite the fact that in the elections of 2006, by an overwhelming majority the Palestinians legally elected the rival Hamas Party to represent them. Some Middle East experts doubt whether a peace agreement that ignores Hamas can actually succeed.

In light of this, the December 24th report on new theories regarding the location of Jesus' birthplace is interesting.It was prepared by FOX's British counterpart Sky News.

Reporter Dominic Waghorn interviewed Israeli archaeologist Aviram Oshri who claims that there is evidence that the Bethlehem mentioned in the New Testament is, in fact, another town of the same name located 200 miles north in the province of Galilee.

Waghorn started off by noting that in the only two gospels to give details of Jesus' birth there are historical inaccuracies, i.e. in Luke's account there is mention of a census that Waghorn claimed never happened. Additionally, Matthew's account - in contradiction to Luke's - claims that Bethlehem was Joseph and Mary's home town.

Ordinarily, conservative media like FOX would denigrate or dismiss any research or discovery that calls into question traditional Christian beliefs. However, in this particular case, FOX did not marshal its resources against it.

If Aviram Oshri can get his funding and prove that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of the Galilee instead of Bethlehem of Judea, it would call into question the claim that Jesus arose out of the house of David, a major linchpin of Christian theology.

Aviram Oshri appears not to be in the mainstream of archaeological thought. He even admitted in the interview that he's not likely to get any funding to prove his theory. In spite of this, Waghorn ended his report from Bethlehem in the West Bank by saying "This Bethlehem's popularity seems assured for some Christmases to come. The secrets of the other remain locked underground. But until they're investigated, we may never know for sure where Christmas really began."

COMMENT

This segment left me with questions but no answers.

What would happen if the location of the birthplace of Jesus was found to be in Galilee, an area controlled by Israel, as opposed to its current location in the West Bank, an area likely to be part of a future Palestinian state?

Why would FOX News even bother to run such a story?

Do you have any ideas?

If so, I'd love to hear them.

N.B. Please keep comments civil. I will be monitoring this thread closely. - MT