The Jewish Agency for Israel said on Monday that it will provide loans to businesses in the South that have been damaged or affected by recent attacks from Gaza.
The Agency’s Center for Business Encouragement says it will grant up to NIS 100,000 to small and medium-sized businesses that were significantly damaged by rocket or arson attacks from the Gaza Strip.
Thousands of incendiary kites and balloons have been launched across the border since March, setting ablaze thousands of acres of crops and causing millions of shekels in damage across the Gaza Belt region.
The loans have been donated by the Ness Foundation – funded by the Jewish communities of Metrowest and Miami in the US.
These loans will mainly focus on trade, tourism and services, but less in the areas of business and agriculture, which the state is dealing with.
Loans will be granted to affected businesses in the Hof Ashkelon, Sdot Negev, Shaar HaNegev, Eshkol and Merhavim regional councils, as well as the cities of Sderot and Netivot.
The interest rate charged on the loans will be 1.5% above the base bank lending rate, with a six-month grace period, followed by five years of repayment. The Jewish Agency says it will provide guarantees on the loans of up to 70%.