State to compensate cancer-stricken Dimona nuclear workers
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State to compensate cancer-stricken Dimona nuclear workers

After years-long legal battle, government to pay out NIS 78 million to 168 former staff of Israel Atomic Energy Commission

September 8, 2002 photo showing a partial view of the Dimona nuclear power plant in the southern Israeli Negev desert. (AFP/Thomas Coex)
September 8, 2002 photo showing a partial view of the Dimona nuclear power plant in the southern Israeli Negev desert. (AFP/Thomas Coex)

The government will pay millions in compensation to 168 cancer sufferers who worked in the Dimona Nuclear Research Center, after the two sides settled out of court on Monday.

The government is to pay a total of NIS 78 million ($22 million) to the workers, who claim their disease was caused by their work at the nuclear facility.

The agreement follows years of legal wrangling in a class action suit filed by the workers against Israel Atomic Energy Commission and an independent investigation into the claims of causality between the illness and the work at the research facility.

Each affected family is to receive hundreds of thousands of shekels under the deal.

In 2013 a committee was set up, headed by the deputy head of the Supreme Court at the time, Eliezer Rivlin, to rule on whether the cancer was caused by the work done at the research facility.

The committee gave its verdict at the end of 2015. Although it concluded that there was no direct link, it nevertheless recommended that the state compensate the workers, to avoid the government having to discuss details of the top-secret Dimona plant in court.

However, the terms of the deal offered at that time were not accepted by the ex-workers, who continued to sue for a larger sum.

Israel is believed by foreign governments and media to be the Middle East’s sole nuclear power, but has long refused to confirm or deny that it has such weapons, and the Dimona plant officially focuses on research and energy provision.

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