Just days after an academician insisted that Jesus Christ was not born in a stable but in a family home, a new story about a second Bethlehem has emerged.
The latest theory seems like an excerpt from a mystery novel. The story tells of a second Bethlehem, a secret Nazi enclave, which is hailed as the true birthplace of Christ.
Archaeologist Dr. Aviram Oshri believes that Christ was born in this Bethlehem of Galilee, nine miles west of Nazareth, and not in the West Bank town of the same name, which has been celebrated as the Lord's birthplace for ages.
Oshri argues that a heavily pregnant lady, in this case Mother Mary, would prefer riding a donkey to a nearby village than 100 miles away south.
"How would a woman nine months pregnant travel 175 kilometres on a donkey all the way to Bethlehem of Judea? It makes much more sense that she would travel 14 kilometres," Oshri told Mirror.
Oshri, during his more than a decade of excavations, has discovered the remains of a large Byzantine-era church in what he addresses as the second Bethlehem.
"Underneath the church, where the holiest of holies usually is, there was a natural cave," he added. According to some Christian theories, Christ was born in a manger in a cave.
At the site there were signs of an ancient two-storey guesthouse, which is the inn where there was no room the night Chirst was born and Mother Mary and Joseph had to take shelter in the cave.
Historic records refer to a fortifying wall that was built in the Biblical Bethlehem. While no such wall was ever found in West bank Bethlehem, parts of such a structure have been traced in this new site.
Early in the last century, numerous German Christians settled in then-Palestine and one religious sect called the Templers colonised in Bethlehem of Galilee in 1906 as they considered it as a holy place for the Second Coming of Christ.
When Hitler's Nazi party rose to power in the 1930s, the author of a book on the German colony – David Kroyanker – said: "Many of the young were easily influenced by Nazism. There were many young Templers who studied in Germany at the time and when they came back they were very excited about Nazism."
After many Templers went to fight for Germany, the remaining ones were declared enemy aliens by the British mandate. The Bethlehem of Galilee was turned into a prison camp.
Oshri believes he is right and says: "As I dig deeper and deeper, I am more convinced."