Israel to become CERN member

New law gives Israeli researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research the same rights as diplomats.

November 13, 2013 00:22
1 minute read.
CERN particle research center near Geneva

CERN particle research center near Geneva 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Israel will become a full member of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), following the passage of a Knesset bill Monday night giving Israeli researchers at CERN the same rights as diplomats.

The new law, which was authorized in a final vote with 56 MKs in favor and none opposed, gives Israeli CERN researchers diplomatic immunity and an exemption from income tax.

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Diplomatic rights are part of CERN’s protocol, so as to prevent government intervention in its research.

The CERN facility, which is located in Geneva, hosts the Large Hadron Collider, the highest-energy particle accelerator ever made. The LHC was used to discover the Higgs Boson, or the “God” particle.

The organization has 20 European member states. Israel has been an associate member since 2011 and can now become a full member.

Currently only two Israelis work at CERN. Another 63 doctoral students receive research grants from the organization but will not get diplomats’ rights.

“I’m glad Israel is taking part in this great project,” Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin said Tuesday. “This is a sign of appreciation for Israeli science, which gets better all the time.”

As for the question of EU boycotts of Israeli research, Elkin said joining CERN “is further proof that Europe wants to work with us as long as there is no politicization and that cooperation between Israel and Europe will continue.”

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