Israel officially entered the European Organization for Nuclear Research on Wednesday, marking the occasion with an induction ceremony at the Globe of Science and Innovation near the France-Switzerland border.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman represented Israel and gave the first speech at the ceremony, where the flag of Israel was raised alongside those of the 20 other members of CERN.
“In my visit in CERN today, I have witnessed the frontiers of science,” Liberman said at the ceremony. “I have realized the scope of collaboration between Israel and CERN. Israeli scientists and their CERN colleagues share a dedication to scientific excellence, technological development and education. Israel and CERN share ideals and goals and therefore have a wide prospect for cooperation.”
The CERN council unanimously voted Israel into the organization last month, making it the first non-European associate.
CERN, located in Switzerland, operates the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider, which creates high-energy collisions of subatomic particles.
Israel joined the organization as an observer in 1991, and dozens of Israeli scientists have taken part in various research projects associated with the organization, including the discovery of the Higgs boson, known popularly as the “God particle,” last year.
“I am very honored as director-general to welcome Israel as a new member state,” CERN’s Director-General Rolf Heuer said at Wednesday’s ceremony. “CERN and Israel have already a long history of mutual collaboration, and this day will undoubtedly be memorable, promising increasingly fruitful scientific cooperation between CERN and the Israeli physics community.”
Israel’s admission to the research facility will allow the country to participate in tenders related to the particle accelerator, to be represented in the management of the organization and to submit applications for scholarships for Israeli students.
Israel will have to allocate close to $14.3 million a year to the institute.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.