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Motor races will become legal in Israel as of today, after the Culture and Sports Ministry announced it had completed fleshing out the regulations implementing the motor sports law passed in 2005. The ministry said yesterday it believes the first races will take place as early as this year.

The announcement came yesterday at a meeting of the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee, when the ministry's representatives said they have completed phrasing 14 regulations, in cooperation with eight other ministries. A further regulation, allowing for the import of race cars to Israel, is set to be signed by Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Matan Vilnai this week.

The head of the sports administration at the ministry, Dr. Uri Sheffer, told the committee that races will begin in Israel in 2011. The ministry stated at the meeting the law was being implemented with all possible caution, as motor sports were dangerous.

The ministry also decided to set up a special licensing office, which will include vehicle tests and training of coaches, and is set to determine regulations for sport driving.

So far, three kinds of motor sports have been confirmed, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, and four sports associations have been officially recognized, including the Israel Racing Drivers Association, which represents auto racers.

The one obstacle remaining is insurance, as no company has yet come forward to offer insurance for the races, with costs estimated to reach about 50 million shekels per race.