An Israeli flag has been added to the line of flags fluttering outside the CERN Globe of Science and Innovation in Geneva, following Israel’s official welcoming as the 21st member state of the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

Israel is the first new member of the organization since 1999. Israel has been an observer at CERN since 1991.

The international research team at CERN that announced the finding of the Higgs boson included 11 Israeli scientists from the Weizmann Institute, Tel Aviv University, Technion Institute and Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“The Israeli scientific community has brought a great deal to CERN over the years,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “I am looking forward to welcoming Israel as our 21st Member State and to intensifying our collaboration.”

“Israeli research is synonymous with innovation, daring, and a constant quest for breakthroughs,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said at a ceremony welcoming Israel’s membership to CERN. “We are proud that Israel creates more than one percent of the scientific knowledge in the world, even though our population is only one thousandth of the world’s population. Israel boasts the highest number of scientists, technicians, and engineers per capita in the world, 140 per 10,000 individuals. Six Israeli scientists have won Nobel prizes in the field of chemistry over the last decade, and two Israelis have won the Nobel prize in economics.

“Israeli scientists have contributed to the advancement of agriculture, computer science, electronics, genetics, health care, optics, solar energy, and engineering. Israel’s goal, and the international community’s task, is to ensure that science and technology should be used for progress, growth, and saving lives.”