View of the Israeli nuclear facility in the Negev Desert outside Dimona .
(photo credit: JIM HOLLANDER / POOL / REUTERS)
The government has agreed to a landmark settlement to compensate around 170 of its Dimona nuclear scientists who are suffering from cancer, the Israel Atomic Energy Commission announced on Monday.
The issue has been in dispute for more than 20 years, with some of the original plaintiffs who sued the IAEC no longer living.
Retired judge Esther Dudkiewicz successfully performed mediation between the sides toward reaching a settlement following receiving guidelines from the Rivlin Commission, named after former Supreme Court justice Eliezer Rivlin.
The announcement did not give a set figure for what the Dimona employees would receive, but it will reportedly total around NIS 78 million.
It did emphasize that part of the settlement was that the IAEC did not need to formally take responsibility for the employees’ illness.
The government said the Rivlin Commission had found that there were not clear-cut higher levels of indicators of cancer among the plaintiffs that could be connected with their work at Dimona than in the general population.
However, Rivlin also recommended compensating the employees due to their unique and important contributions to the state if they could present some evidence connecting their cancer to their work, even if the threshold of proof was lower than in usual court cases.
IAEC Chairman Zeev Shnir said, “The safety of our employees has always been and will always be the supreme consideration in our activities. Our concern for our employees is what was before us in arriving at the settlement.”