The government on Sunday approved a recommendation by a Knesset committee to provide workers from the Dimona nuclear reactor facility who fell sick, with a special payment and pension. Energy, Water and Infrastructure Minister Yuval Steinitz will present the law in the Knesset for its first reading in the coming days.
Under the law, workers at the plant who contracted a range of diseases – including cancer – will automatically be eligible for the payments, and will not have to prove a direct or indirect connection between their work and the disease they contracted, unlike other workers, where a connection must be shown in order to receive compensation.
Although the government has not released official statistics, officials said that there was a clear correlation between higher cancer levels and work at that facility. The committee making the recommendation is headed by former High Court justice Eliezer Rivlin. The committee was formed after a rash of lawsuits against the government by workers at the plant who contracted cancer and other diseases.
According to the committee, the workers deserve the compensation “in light of their special contribution to the state and in recognition of the risks they undertook to defend the country. With this program, workers will be able to file for compensation via a special track, instead of via normal channels.”