FILED UNDER SOMETHINGISRAELI >> Sport
Israel could soon by setting up horse racing tracks and allow legal betting on horses.
While horse racing has been going on in Israel for 1000s of years, it has never been organised as a commercial sport, nor allowed gambling to be part of it.
But large scale racetracks are part of the plan to allow money to be wagered with part of the proceeds to be used to fund social needs.
If plans go ahead, British expertise in the game may be tapped into and provide Israel with world-class trainers and jockeys.
But before that will come much public consultation. Animal rights campaigners have already announced their concern if horse racing comes to Israel.
Hakol Chai is one organisation against horse racing, it says: "Every aspect of a racehorse’s life involves cruelties, from beginning a harsh training regimen before their bones have hardened and when they are vulnerable to fractures from excessive weight being placed on them, to being drugged so they can be forced to race even when injured."
"We are intending to implement horse racing in Israel as it is in developed countries such as Hong Kong, France and Germany," says Israel Sport Betting Board spokesman Baruch Dagon We are not inventing something new, and we intend to do everything under a license."
While there is currently political uncertainty with the election of a new prime minister, the horse racing issue is currently off the agenda for most politicians. But it's likely to return later in 2006 and with it a political debate.