CERN accepts Israel as full member

Prestigious European nuclear research facility operates $10 billion Large Hadron Collider, discovered ‘God particle’

CERN's main site, from Switzerland looking towards France (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, public domain dedication)
CERN's main site, from Switzerland looking towards France (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, public domain dedication)

Israel was admitted Thursday as a full member of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, after the governing council of the prestigious facility voted in favor of accepting an application submitted by the Israeli government.

Israel will be the atomic research center’s 21st official member and its first non European associate.

The resolution to accept Israel was unanimously adopted by the CERN Council in its Thursday session.

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 had 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.

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.

“The Israeli scientific community has brought a great deal to CERN over the years,” CERN Director General Rolf Heuer said. “I am looking forward to welcoming Israel as our 21st Member State and to intensifying our collaboration.”

Israel will have to allocate close to $14.3 million a year to the institute, Haaretz reported.

“As a member of the fact-finding mission that assessed Israel’s readiness for CERN Membership, I was extremely impressed with the quality of Israeli research and researchers,” said CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci.

The formal signing ceremony will take place next month.

“This is a day of pride and satisfaction for Israeli science and we congratulate all the scientists involved in this achievement and whose abilities bring honor to the State of Israel,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said following CERN’s announcement.

“The decision is also an impressive achievement for Israeli diplomacy and a sign of respect to the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which has led this effort for many years,” he said.

“This is a very special moment for Israeli Science and Israel,” said Eliezer Rabinovici, Chair of the Israeli Academy of Science’s National Committee for High Energy Physics and Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

“It reflects decades in which many Israeli scientists, technicians and Israeli industry have contributed significantly to the European scientific effort at CERN. It also has a sense of return. We are becoming full members of the crew at a most exciting period in which CERN is about to scan new horizons.”

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