Israeli Nuke Site Renamed After Dead Nobel Peace Prize Winner

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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Israel has renamed its Nuclear Research Center-Negev after deceased former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the name change at a cabinet meeting Sunday. Peres, who won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts along with Israeli politician Yitzhak Rabin and former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to bring peace between Israel and Palestine, died in September at the age of 93.

The deceased Israeli leader is partly responsible for the existence of Nuclear Research Center-Negev, having assisted in building the nuke site in the 1950s and 1960s with help from the French, according to BBC News. Israel’s nuclear program is not officially confirmed to exist by the Israeli government, but they do not deny it either.

“I intend to have the Nuclear Research Center-Negev renamed after the late Shimon Peres, who worked to establish this important enterprise,” Netanyahu tweeted. “This enterprise is important for Israel’s security for generations. I think that it would be right and proper to rename the center after him,” the Israeli Prime Minister wrote in a subsequent tweet.

The nuclear facility that will now bear Peres’ name became active at some point between 1962 and 1964. Estimates vary for how many nuclear weapons Israel has with the commonly accepted low estimate being 80, and on the upper-end closer to 200.

President Barack Obama eulogized Peres at his funeral in September, saying in part, “I could somehow see myself in his story, and he could see himself in mine.”

Like Peres, Obama also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

The prestigious international award was given to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Friday for his efforts to end his country’s half-century-long conflict with Marxist rebels.

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