GENEVA—The governing council of the world's top particle physics lab has unanimously voted to accept Israel as a full member.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, says Israel will be admitted as a full member—the first non-European country to achieve that—once it formally notifies UNESCO that it has ratified the CERN Convention.

CERN's director general, Rolf Heuer, said in a statement Thursday that Israel, which obtained observer status in 1991 and then became an associate member in 2011, will become the 21st member nation to join as a full member.

The upgrade in status means it will have more access and say in the research, but also that it must contribute millions of dollars more each year.