A new team is set to join the NASCAR racing league, a sport currently holding the number two spot in revenues and number of viewers (after football) – American Israel Racing (AIR). The goal behind the new initiative: "Promote awareness of and support by Americans for Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East."
The new team is planning on having their car, adorned with an Israeli flag; participate in the Daytona 500 which is set to take place at the end of the month in Florida. The race is considered one of the most watched sporting events in the country, with over 30 million Americans watching it last year.
The two people behind the venture are Christian
Americans who consider themselves to be avid supporters of the State of Israel. They are cooperating with a veteran team that regularly has two cars in the prestigious races.
An agreement with the racing team means that AIR will be sponsoring one of the cars which in addition to Israel's flag, will feature the American eagle and an olive branch as a symbol for peace.
Speaking on the reasons behind the venture, Rich Shirey, co- founder of AIR said: “This is a critical time in our nation’s history as it pertains to our relationship with Israel."
“As the only true democracy in the Middle East, we feel it is critical that the United States reaffirms its commitment to stand beside Israel. By fielding a car in the most-watched race of the year, we hope to show Israel just how many Americans feel the same way.”
The team has already launched fundraising efforts in a bid to run the "Zionist" car in another major race, the famous Indy 500.
Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein said in response: "I am very pleased with the AIR initiative which will contribute to strengthening the recognition of the importance of the ties and the steady support the US gives Israel."