The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is set to vote to admit Israel to full membership in the organization, making it the first non-European member of the group. Israel has been a provisional member of the group for the past two years.
CERN's current main activity is the administration and experimentation work of a particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, located on the Swiss-French border. As a member country, Israel could send scientists and conduct experiments at the accelerator. As a member, Israel would also approve new experiments and the construction of new accelerators.
The way was paved for Israel's membership in the group when the Knesset in November passed a law that gives Israeli scientists working at CERN the same rights as diplomats, a status required by the CERN bylaws. CERN requires scientists to have diplomatic status, according to the organization, in order to ensure that governments do not interfere with the group's research.
The scientists also received an exemption from paying income tax. In addition, Israel pledged to pay an annual membership fee of $13 million.
Israeli officials are optimistic about full membership in the organization, even with the European boycott of products produced by Jews in Judea and Samaria. After the Knesset approved the diplomatic status of scientists working at CERN in November, Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin was quoted as saying that Israel's membership in CERN “is further proof that Europe wants to work with us as long as there is no politicization and that cooperation between Israel and Europe will continue.”