Setting visible footprints for peace

Last week, Israel’s cabinet agreed that Israel could become a member of CERN, bringing CERN’s geographical enlargement one step closer. Council still has to discuss the timetable for accession. However, Israel’s associate membership, an essential prerequisite for membership, could begin this year. It’s a moment I’m looking forward to.


Israeli participation in CERN is nothing new. Israel was granted observer status in 1991, and ever since has contributed voluntarily to the Organization’s activities, as well as to our intellectual wealth. Israeli institutions also participate in our summer student programmes, bringing both Israeli and Palestinian students to the lab. I’m told that one of the best parties at CERN in recent years was an Israeli-Palestinian summer students’ party: young people sending an important message to the world.

Initiatives like this are part of our raison d’être. CERN was created in 1954 with the dual mandate of conducting excellent research in Europe and fostering peaceful international collaboration through science. The Organization’s founding fathers had the foresight to recognise that science transcends all other barriers, and by encouraging links between academics, great advances in international understanding can be, and have been, made.

Israel’s membership will further advance CERN’s ideals. Israeli scientists can benefit from CERN, and CERN can benefit from them. Furthermore, I firmly believe that the cause of peace in the Middle East can be served by engagement with the academic communities of both Israel and its neighbours in the Arab world. This is a policy that CERN actively pursues.

CERN’s approach to collaboration is and always has been one of openness to academic communities, wherever they may be. This brings richness to the intellectual life of CERN, and sends a message to the world about what can be achieved through peaceful collaboration. Academic inclusion is the route to understanding, setting visible footprints for peace.


Rolf Heuer