Following a resolution unanimously adopted at the 169th session of the CERN Council on 12 December, CERN is set to admit Israel as the organization’s 21st member state. Israeli membership will be effective from the date on which Israel formally notifies UNESCO that it has ratified the CERN Convention. CERN was established under the auspices of UNESCO, and UNESCO remains the depository of the CERN Convention. Israeli has been an associate member of CERN since 2011.
Israel’s formal association with CERN began in 1991, when the country was granted observer status by Council in recognition of the major involvement of Israeli institutions in the OPAL experiment at the Large Electron–Positron collider, accompanied by contributions to the running of the accelerator. Today, Israel is involved with the ATLAS experiment at the LHC and the ALPHA and COMPASS experiments, as well as experiments at the ISOLDE facility. In addition, Israel contributes to the LHC and to the CLIC accelerator design study, and operates a tier-2 centre of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid. Israel also supports the involvement of Palestinian students at CERN.
Israel’s forthcoming membership of CERN follows a decision taken by Council in 2010 to enlarge the organization’s membership (CERN Courier July/August 2010 p7). At the same time, Council established the status of associate membership for countries wishing to have limited participation in CERN’s programme, accompanied by limited benefits of membership. All new applicants for full membership must pass through a period of at least two years as an associate member before Council takes a decision on full membership. A country can also apply for associate membership in its own right.
Following this decision, Israel became CERN’s first associate member in 2011, followed by Serbia in 2012. Cyprus and Ukraine will become associate members as soon as their national parliaments ratify the accession agreements. Discussions are still underway with Slovenia regarding membership, and with Brazil, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey, all of which have applied for associate membership. Romania has the status of candidate for accession, having applied for full membership before the new procedures came into effect.