‘Jeopardy!’ was criticized for ruling that Jesus Christ’s Bethlehem birthplace is in Israel and not Palestine

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  • “Jeopardy!” came under fire for rejecting the answer “Palestine” for a clue asking for the location of Jesus Christ’s birthplace, the Church of the Nativity.
  • Another contestant was awarded $200 when he rang in to answer “Israel,” though the site has been under Palestinian authority since 1995.
  • Social media users demanded the show correct or apologize for rejecting Palestine as the correct answer.
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Game show Jeopardy! landed in controversy when it didn’t accept a contestant’s apparently correct answer about a historical site located in Palestine.

Contestant Katie Needle buzzed in for a $200 question that asked for Jesus Christ’s place of birth, with the clue “Built in the 300s A.D., the Church of the Nativity” in the category “Where’s that Church?”

Needle answered, “What is Palestine?”

Host Alex Trebek quickly answered “no” before accepting fellow contestant Jack McGuire’s answer of What is Israel?”

In one question, the long-running game show delved into a longtime contentious debate over geopolitics in the Middle East, and sparked angry reactions from those watching online and at home.

The Church of Nativity is located in Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, which is controlled by Palestinian authorities. The church is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular religious pilgrimage for Christians.

Trebek’s curt rejection of Needle’s answer sparked a wave of online responses that pointed to the established history behind the site, which does designate it under Palestinian authority.

Some Twitter users demanded a correction or an apology for the clue answer.

Some eagle-eyed users wrote online that it appeared the show quietly awarded Needle the $200 during a commercial break. Despite initially losing out on the clue, Needle still ended up winning the game and rounding up her total two-day winnings to $53,602.

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