Israel’s social lender sets up new fund for interest-free ‘lifelines’ for war impact

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Israel’s social lender sets up new fund for interest-free ‘lifelines’ for war impact

Ogen offers £20k for small businesses and £12k for families hit by the Hamas attacks and the economic aftermath after donors step in

Mourners gather around the five coffins of the Kotz family during their funeral in Gan Yavne.
Mourners gather around the five coffins of the Kotz family during their funeral in Gan Yavne.

A social lender set up to help low-income Israelis is offering interest-free “lifelines” to those impacted by the 7 October attacks.

Ogen, formerly known as the Israel Free Loan Association (IFLA), launched its Swords of Iron Emergency Economic Relief Fund for individuals, non-profits, and small companies hit by the war. It aims to raise almost £30m and to help 30,000 people.

Organisers said there would be interest-free £12,000 loans offered to around 1,000 individuals or families, and £20,000 loans made available to around 430 small businesses and non-profits.

Sagi Balasha, chief executive of Ogen, said it would give “swift and tailored support to those affected by the ongoing crisis and economic challenges, particularly as we observe a sluggish response from the government”.

The loans would provide immediate assistance to those grappling with the aftermath of the crisis, said Ogen, adding that small businesses account for almost a half of Israel’s workforce.

“As Israel transitions from the initial triage support in response to the attacks, it’s crucial to recognise that Israel is likely heading into a financial recession,” it said.

The fund was “therefore an urgent response to prevent individuals and businesses from falling off the precipice”.

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