Free Loan Group Surpasses $100 Million in Interest Free Loans

The Israel Free Loan Association has reached a record of $100 million interest loans. It is the largest free loan group in the world.

Contact Editor
IsraelNN Staff, | updated: 12:52

Free loan for special car for one-legged man
Free loan for special car for one-legged man
Israel news photo: IFLA
The Israel Free Loan Association (IFLA) reported that it reached a major milestone in 2009, surpassing $100 million in interest free loans granted since its founding. These loans have been provided to over 50,000 Israeli families from all backgrounds. 

IFLA loans help Ethiopian immigrants move out of mobile homes and buy apartments, enable university students to obtain academic degrees, and allow ailing Israelis to undergo operations. The loans also assist families with handicapped children to purchase medical equipment, help struggling Israelis get back on their financial feet and enable Israelis to start a business or expand existing ones thereby supporting both themselves.

The non-profit IFLA started as a private initiative of Hebrew University Professor of Social Work Emeritus, Eliezer Jaffe. He came up with the idea after a visit to an immigrant absorption center in 1988. "Busloads of Ethiopians, straight off the airplane, had just arrived at the center, and I told myself we were witnessing history in the making - the ingathering of the exiles." Soon afterwards, a flood of Russians added nearly a million new immigrants to the population.

"After I came home, I thought to myself – you have to get involved. Some friends and I put our heads together and we remembered what the sage Maimonides had said about charity – the highest level being when you give a loan or a job too a person so they can get onto their feet and keep their self-respect.

“It has worked out well because after their first year in the country, immigrants receive little help from the Jewish Agency that helped bring them to this country. They don't have family networks, they don't have the language mastered yet, and they find it hard to get a job or learn a profession."

Although originally established for new immigrants, the IFLA has branched out to offer help Israelis of all backgrounds. “In 1990 we started with a donation of only $20,000 dollars,” says Jaffe. “In 2009 we succeeded in surpassing the $100 million mark in interest free loans granted. Who would have believed we could have come so far in so short a time?”

The Israel Free Loan Association is the largest free loan organization in the world. It lends out $15 million every year to Israelis of all backgrounds. Unlike conventional charity where money is depleted, the source funds for free loans are preserved and more loans are recycled to provide funds to others.

Click here for more information.