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Knesset Bid to Close Dimona Defeated

In mid-March, three Knesset members from the Hadash-Ta'al party were sharply criticized by other members of the Knesset when they proposed a bill to shut down Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor.

The bill was initiated by MK Issam Makhoul, a long-time supporter of Mordechai Vanunu and critic of the Dimona facility, who was then joined by MK's Ahmad Tibi and Mohammad Barakeh.

The three Israeli Arab Knesset members pointed to environmental concerns related to the advanced age of the reactor, and the lack of any non-governmental supervision which might assess any potential dangers. They also raised concerns about worker safety at Dimona.

The bill predictably unleashed a strong response from other Knesset members, some of whom accused Makhoul, Tibi and Barakeh of trying to harm state security. Others suggested that the Hadash party be closed down, instead of the Dimona reactor. Even left-wing MK's accused the three of less than noble motives, with one suggesting that these sorts of bills do not belong in the legislature.

The bill was defeated on March 17 by a 65-6 margin.


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