October 27, 2006




CHAI/Hakol Chai's campaign to stop gambling on horse racing from becoming established in Israel is heating up as the December date of the Supreme Court hearing on the subject nears. Our case is based on the fact that the government failed to consider the animal welfare implications when reaching a decision to build the track, as required by law, and also on the fact that racing violates Israel's Animal Protection Law because cruelty to animals is an inherent part of racing.

Photo: Eli Atias, Hakol Chai
Horse and jockey at "practice" race
Photo: Eli Atias, Hakol Chai

Demonstration Held at "Practice" Race

On October 11, during the holiday of Succot, racing industry backers held what they termed a "practice race" on a temporary track set up on the land where they hope to build an extensive facility. Instead of newspaper articles heralding the launching of a race, industry backers were met with articles about the cruelties inherent in the industry and CHAI/Hakol Chai's actions to prevent it from taking root in Israel. These actions included filing a complaint with the police on the grounds that the required permits were not obtained and holding a demonstration at the site of the planned track during the event.

Many who read the facts about this cruel industry, which is based on greed, turned away and chose not to attend the event. Some who noticed how forcefully and frequently the horses were whipped during the race also left.

Hakol Chai's Director and its spokesperson participated in numerous debates with race backers and, by all accounts, won them all. When race backers argued, for example, that racehorses receive veterinary care during their lifetime, unlike other horses who are abused in Israel, Hakol Chai staff asked whether anyone would agree to have his or her life shortened by 2/3 in exchange for receiving medical care.

Read Israeli and international online newspaper articles about the latest events in our campaign. The articles informed the public that horses who are raced suffer from chronic ulcers, heart attacks, catastrophic injuries, and bleeding in the lungs. They have a shortened lifespan, and thousands are slaughtered for meat.

Chief Rabbi of Israel Rules Against Racing
On July 30, 2006, Rabbi Shlomo Amar, the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, issued a ruling (psak halacha) against horse racing.

Photo: Animal Aid The ruling concludes:

It seems self-evident that one ought to instruct every God-fearing person to hasten to gather his livestock and his horses at home [an allusion to Exodus 9:20] and not to participate in horse-races - neither in establishing them, nor by watching them: because of the pain to animals caused thereby, because it is "a dwelling place of scoffers," and because it is "playing
with dice" [that is, gambling].

Among the reasons the Chief Rabbi cited in drawing his conclusion are the following:

  • Racing involves slaughtering many horses, and this violates the Jewish law against wanton destruction.
  • Horse slaughter would create a risk that horsemeat would be sold in Israel, which would violate Jewish law.
  • Whoever shows compassion is shown compassion.
  • Using horses for racing is unnecessary; the cruelty involved, only for the purpose of making some rich people richer, is prohibited.
  • Judaism forbids gambling because it enriches one person at the expense of another.

Read the Chief Rabbi's complete ruling.

Photo: Animal Aid
Please sign our petition against the horse racing industry
entering Israel.

We still have much work ahead to raise public awareness about this issue and to prevent a law from being passed that would exempt the industry from Israel's Animal Protection Law. The law proposed by race backers would remove all legal restrictions on the cruelties to which racehorses can be subjected, leaving them completely defenseless.

This important campaign depends on your contributions.
Please help!

Please send your tax-deductible donations to:
CHAI, POB 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302, USA, or
donate through our website.
To donate directly to Hakol Chai in Israel, send donations to:
Hakol Chai, POB 51858 Tel Aviv 67214, Israel, or
donate through the website (Hebrew).

Yours for a more compassionate world,

Nina Natelson
CHAI - Concern for Helping Animals in Israel
PO Box 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302

Phone: 703-370-0333

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