While the world is preoccupied with the Iranian nuclear threat, residents of the southern town of Dimona are more concerned about a domestic nuke hazard, namely Israel's own reactor, located in their backyard.
A higher rate of cancer cases, more attempts by hostile elements to target the area, and the constant fear of possible malfunctions in
the reactor are some of the worries the locals must deal with on a daily basis. After keeping silent for a long time, Dimona residents have decided to take matters to their own hands and on Thursday announced the establishment of a new fund: "Nuclear Threat-Free Dimona."
Shalom Bar Avi, the fund's chairman, told Ynet: "We decided to raise our voices and cry out so that the new government hears us, this following many cases in which our friends became ill with cancer."
The fund plans to demand that the government set up a commission of inquiry chaired by a judge that will instruct an authorized body to measure the radiation rates in the town and its vicinity.
The residents claim the high rate of cancer cases in Dimona – 279 of the town's people are currently sick with the disease – is the direct result of the nuclear plant located nearby. To prove their case they present data showing a sharp increase of 12 percent in the number of cancer patients in town in the last year alone.
"We want to know the truth. We are sick and tired of living in constant fear that a hostile element will succeed in reaching the plant. There is constant fear of a leakage, an earthquake, and cancer, which brings our people down one by one," Bar Avi said.
Two years ago, residents of Dimona were provided with capsules to be used in the event of a nuclear leak. "The fact we were given these pills proves that our lives are in danger," Ben Avi said.
According to the fund, there are two possible solutions for their problem: Relocating the plant, or relocating residents with appropriate compensation. The residents stressed they are willing to take all legal measures possible in order to achieve their goal.