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August 23, 2013

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PAGE 16A . HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 23, 2013 race a By Jeffrey F. Barken and remarkably "driven" stu- Renault professionals. Ulti- ~ dents form the unique Israeli mately, a team of 30 drivers motorsports team. is selected for formal training. There is something differ- When the Israeli motor-. In 2011, nearly 3,000 driv- ent about ta.king a ride from sports law was lifted, Meiri ers tried out for the program. Shlomi Bakish. Not only can and Franksawanopportunity . The selection process yielded hegetfromHaifatoTelAvivin not only to build Israel's first a team of 20 men and 10 half the time, but passengers professional racetrack in women. Because the mile- also don't feel the road. The the Port of Eilat, but also to long racetrack in Eilat was caraccelerateswithoutstrain, experiment, and to de moc- not yet completed, the driv- Unlike many Israeli drivers, ratize the Formula racing ers were sent to France to Bakish doesn't express rage establishment. They are striv- receive.hands-on instruction when a slower car cuts him ing to make Formula racing in preparation for Israel's first off. He sees his opportunity affordable and accessible to Formula One competition. and easily passes on the right, the Israelipublic. Trai.ning at the Zig Zag It's as though he's driving in "Traditionally, you have to school consists of gruel- arace, be very rich and well licensed ing physical conditioning For the past decade, tal= todriveintheFormfila,"Meiri courses, as well as a regimen ented Israeli drivers like Bak tells of computer simulator exer- ishwere stranded in traffic by As racetrack construc-cises. "A good driver needs to an unpopular law regulating tion began in Eilat, Meiri know how to push the car to motorsports.Butnewregula- and Frank organized a new the limit of traction without- tions approved in March 2011 method for recruiting and losing control," Bakish tells by the Knesset's Education, training drivers. Their efforts "It's avery thin line, Culture and Sports Corn- have created a pioneer racing and it takes time.You have to mittee have op ned doors for culture in Israel that is likely handle the car gently. If you enthusiasts of Formula rac- to inspire similar programs - arebrutal, itwill punishyou." ing--whichencompassessev- around theworld. For Bakish, who partici- eral forms of open-wheeled, "The idea is drivers driv- pated in the pilot program single-seat racecar driving ing,""We and was ranked 3rd prior to including Formula Renault, want to give enthusiasts who the 2012 Eilat race, the op- Formula One, Formula Two, have the talent to race corn- portunity to drive a Formula Formula Three, and World petitively but who don't have racecar was the fulfillment of Series by Renault--to get themoneytoparticipateinthe a childhooddream. back in the driver's seat. The sport the rare opportunity to "The car is very compact," Jewish state's first Formula One road show, which took place in mid-June, attracted 100,000 spectators. Formula Israel developers Boaz Meiri and Ofir Frank, in- structors at the renowned Zig Zag driving school in France, drive a real~ race car." Every summer, Israel is are now invited to submit appli- cations to Israel's Formula training program. For only 300 shekels, roughly $100, every applicant receives a special evaluation by Formula Bakish describes his first FormulaRenault car. "Drivers lie down inside a narrow tun- nel. You have to wear special shoes; otherwise your feet will get stuck on the pedals. The engine has an amazing sound, and the car can do 0-60 FLORIDA Publication Date: August 30, 2013 Advertising Deadline: August 23, 201-3 Formula One Scuderia Ferrari tean driver Giancarlo Fisichella drives a Ferrari F60 past The Tower of David and the ancient walls of Jerusalem's Old City, during the second day of the Jerusalem Formula Peace Road Show, on June 14, 2013. The first-ever two-day Jerusalem Formula Peace Road Show includes Formula One racing teams, Scuderia Ferrari and Marussia, Ferrari Challenge cars, drifting cars and Grand Prix motorcycles all partici- patidg in the show, whose circuit passes landmarks such as Jerusalem's Old City walls. miles per hour in around 3.5 seconds. Top speed is near240 kilometers per hour." Bakish's recalls an exhila- rating experience in the 2012 race. "Driving on the track is intense," he recalls. "You are claustrophobic, the safety belts are tight, and you can't move anything but your head and hands. It's very hot. The combination of helmet, racing suit engine heat, no AC, hot Eilat weather and adrenalin makes your heart beat hard. You have to remain focused, push the car to the limit with- out losing control." Meiri and Frank are count- ing on the thrilling experi- ences reported by "freshly trained drivers, like Bakish, to fuel enthusiasm for future motorsports events in Israel. Already, the sport's fol- lowing is growing at a re- markable rate. Nearly 4,000 spectators--mostly tourists and families--attended last year's race in Eilat, packing the stands. The initial race in Eilat cost 6 million shekels ($1.T mil- lion) to produce, but this was partly due to the high price of start-up construction and the need to purchase expensive licenses and insurance poli- cies. Now the price has come down considerably, costing the organization only 2.5 million shekels to host the annual winter race. "Lastyear we made a profit," Meiri says. "Now we are more organized. After the first race, we also held a road show in Jerusalem. These events have strengthened the Formula culture in Israel and are en- couraging more advertisers and sponsors to invest in Israeli racing." Meiri and Frank, who have worked out a five-year lease on the racetrack with Israel's Ministry of Transportation, have ambitious plans. Cur- rently, the racetrack in Eilat is used for part of the year as a parking lot for new cars shipped to Israel from the Far East. To attract international attention, Israel needs a larg- er, more permanent facility. "We have a long-term g0al of opening a medium, 3,000 meter-long track in Israel for courses and motorsport expe- riences," Frank says. "In the future, we also want to be able to host teams from all over the world so that they can practice during the winter." Meiri says those driving Israel's growth in the motor- sports scene have "surprised all the skeptics with our pro- fessionalism." "Most importantly, our winning formula has changed the way fans interact with the sport," he says. may ByAbigail Klein Leichman Alpha-l, a natural blood protein that fights inflam- mation, protects transplanted animal pancreatic islets-- where insulin is produced-- from rejection by the human body when used in combina- tion with another anti-rejec- tion therapy, according to an Israeli study financed by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. This discovery, reported in the journal PLoS ONE in May, could open the door to successful islet transplants from mammals, such as pigs, for Type 1 diabetes Patients. Type 1 diabetes affects an estimated three million people in the United States alone. The disease results from a problem with the production or distribution of the hormone insulin, which carries glucose to the body's cells for energy. Insulin is made in the islet cells of the pancreas, and transplants of healthy human islets have successfully allowed recipiz ents to stop using injected insulin on a daily basis. However, because there aren't nearly enough human donors, regulatory agencies including the US Food and Drug Administration have approved clinical trials using islets from pigs. Here, the problem is not availability but the human body's ag- gressive immune response against tissue from another species. This is why the study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev scientists Eli C. Lewis, Efrat Ashkenazi, Boris M. Baranovski and Galit Shahaf is so significant. Combination therapy is the charm Lewis and his team at the Clinical Islet Laboratory in the department of clinical biochemistry and pharma- cology already showed that alpha-1 protects human islet grafts from rejection by the recipient's body. Next, they tested its effectiveness in protecting against rejection of non-human transplants. But their attempts failed, even when they tried increasing the dosage of alpha-1. Notwilling to give up, the Is- raeli team studied microscopic changes inside graft samples and determined that alpha-1 might simply need help in order to overcome the strong immune response to inter- species grafts. This approach is called combination therapy. The scientists decided to try an existing technique, temporary T-cell depletion, which commonly is used just prior to organ transplanta- tion. BGU's team found that, on its own, temporary T-cell depletion only delays graft rejection. When temporary T-cell depletion therapy was combined with alpha-1 in an experiment on lab mice, islet grafts from a different species were indeed accepted. "This approach may be ap- plicable in the near future for the purpose of pig-to-human islet transplantation, a proce- dure currently examined in several clinical trials around the world," said Lewis. Article printed from IS- RAEL21c: