The first accounting of the $50,000 Emergency Loan Fund which was sent to Palestine by the Joint Distribution Committee in January 1927, to relieve economic distress there, was made public in a report from Emanuel N. Mohl, of the Loan Bank of Palestine, through Joseph C. Hyman, secretary of the J. D. C. While loans were as small as Â£ 5, and only three of them exceeded Â£ 15, the figures to September 30 show a total of 1,144 loans, to the amount of Â£ 9,205,150, an average of less than Â£ 10 each. By the end of December, 1927, Â£ 3,720 had been repaid, and was in condition to be loaned out again.
The loans, according to number and amount, were divided as follows: the head office made three loans, totalling Â£ 145; in Jerusalem, 40 loans were made totalling Â£ 288,500; in Haifa, 152 loans totalling Â£ 156,650; and in Tel Aviv, where the distress was greatest, 949 loans were made, totalling Â£ 1,156,650. Of this total, 231 loans were made to workers; 509 to artisans; 325 to merchants; and 79 to people in sundry other occupations. The borrowers ranged from persons recently arrived to many of from two to six years of residence. All of it was loaned at a six percent interest, a very small interest rate compared with the exorbitant demands made for loans in that country, especially for loans such as these which by their very nature cannot be adequately secured.
The Joint Distribution Committee set up the Emergency Loan Fund last year in response to an urgent plea for assistance from Dr. Judah L. Magnes from Palestine, who reported acute distress in Tel Aviv, due to unemployment. Instead of making an outright contribution for relief, this $50,000 emergency fund was first created to extend loans and enable some of the unemployed to secure work and carry on small businesses.
The sum of $30,000 was also sent to Palestine for emergency feeding relief. Dr. Magnes urged that sum as the minimum required to feed 400 prekindergarten children; 500 of kindergarten, and 500 more of school age; to feed 150 half orphans and 400 dependent and sick children: to aid 1,500 impoverished adults: and to house properly 100 dependent tubercular patients.
The Joint Distribution Committee has authorized Mr. Mohl to continue to lend out collections for the same purpose and to meet the same kinds of needs for which the Emergency Loan Fund itself was allotted. Among the advances which the committee authorized was one sum of Â£ 250 for the purchase of tents for Jewish workmen employed by the Palestine Department of Public Works.