JERUSALEM, Israel – The Jewish Agency is offering low-interest loans to business owners in southern Israeli communities who have suffered losses from rocket and arson attacks by Gaza-based Islamic terrorists.
The latest round of terrorism against Israel began at the end of March with what Hamas called the "Great March of Return," originally billed as a six-week-long, peaceful demonstration at the border to highlight the "right of return."
Hamas bussed thousands of demonstrators to the border, among them women and small children, to illicit the greatest response to their cause. Injuries and deaths were blamed on Israel's disproportionate response to peaceful demonstrations.
The demonstrations, which were far from peaceful, included sniper fire, grenades, fire bombs peppered with repeated attempts to breach the security fence and infiltrate into Israel armed with knives and explosives.
Israeli soldiers protecting the border from the violence were portrayed as the bad guys.
Meanwhile, fires started by incendiary kites and balloons, launched across the border, have destroyed thousands of acres of farmland, forests and nature reserves in southern Israel. The attacks have also hurt small businesses, especially those that depend on tourism.
The Jewish Agency's Small Business Loan Fund program received a special donation to help small- and medium-sized business owners harmed by the terrorism.
The loans will be available in the Hof Ashkelon, Sedot Negev, Shaar Hanegev, Eshkol and Merhavim regional councils and in the cities of Sderot and Netivot.
Over the weekend, the Trump administration hinted at redefining the UN criteria for Palestinian refugees and removing the so-called right of return from negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The administration also cut $200 million in funding to the PA to reassess where the money was going.