Israel to be 1st non-Euro member of elite research club

The cabinet is expected approve the $15 m. annual entrance fee that will allow it to become part of the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

April 15, 2011 05:13
1 minute read.
Dimona nuclear reactor

311_dimona reactor. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The cabinet on Sunday is expected to approve the $15 million annual entrance fee that will allow Israel to become part of one of the most exclusive scientific clubs in the world: CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Israel is slated to become the first non-European member of the organization that currently includes 20 states, 18 of them from the EU.

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Based in Geneva, CERN is the world leader in the research of particle physics. It’s star project is the Large Hadron Collider, a $10 billion project that aims to bash together the tiny particles making up the universe at phenomenal speeds to allow scientists to observe phenomena that occurred immediately after the Big Bang.

Israel has had a formal agreement with the organization since 1990, and has had observer status since 1991.

Diplomatic officials said that France and Germany were instrumental in pushing through Israel’s full membership. Switzerland was at first opposed, but then changed its position.

The final invitation process is due to take an additional two years, with Israel expected to join as a full member in 2013, after two years as an associate member. Membership decisions are reached through consensus, and the member states will again have to be in full agreement for Israel to gain final acceptance at that time.

While the $15m. annual fee is not an insignificant amount of money, officials say that it will be more than made up for by contracts that will stem from membership.

Membership will also provide a boost to Israel’s scientific research capabilities.

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