Defense Ministry Agrees to Reparations in Anthrax Experiments

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Israeli government has announced that it will pay reparations to IDF soldiers and officers who were recruited for anthrax inoculation experiments without their informed consent, Haaretz reports.

The Omer-2 experiments included 716  members of the IDF. The soldiers participating received shots containing a special inoculation, developed at the Institute for Biological Research in Nes Tziona, meant to combat the anthrax disease.

In December 2008, an investigatory report found grave fault with the way in which soldiers were recruited for the experiment, pressuring them to give their consent and  failing to inform them of the risks associated with the experiment.

In 2010, 92 soldiers filed a lawsuit against the Defense Ministry that charged that it was an “experiment on human beings” who did not participate of their own volition.

Many participants developed medical problems in the years following the experiment, including Crohn’s disease, thyroid inflammation, allergic dermatitis reactions and temporary kidney failure. The government claimed that the side effects were “few and far between.”

Tens of thousands of shekels will be paid to the soldiers who participated in the anthrax experiments between 1999 and 2005, following the settlement of the lawsuit.

The settlement agreement stipulates that the Defense Ministry must create a trust for the Israel Defense Forces soldiers who participated in the experiments — code-named “Omer-2” — and earmark 21 million shekels ($6 million) to fund it. The government will pay each of the 92 plaintiffs 36,000 shekels, which also covers their legal fees. Aside from the plaintiffs, every other participant in the experiments will receive a sum of 27,000 shekels.