CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, made a final decision Thursday to accept Israel as a full member. Israel is the first non-European member of the group. It has been a provisional member of the group for the past two years.
The decision will make it possible for Israel to more speedily become a full part of the wide range of scientific, research, industrial and educational activities that CERN carries out.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) said following the announcement that this is “a day of pride and satisfaction for Israeli science, and we congratulate all of the scientists who were invoilved in this achievement, and whose abilities bring much honor to the state of Israel. The decision is also an impressive achievcement for Israeli diplomacy, and an honor to the activity of the Foreign Ministry's personnel, who led this effort for many 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. Israel would also take part in approving 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.