Herzog sets new NGO aid fund set into motion

Minister of Welfare and Social Services Isaac Herzog put into motion Wednesday a special aid package aimed at bailing out the country's non-profit sector -- specifically those NGOs working with the country's weakest and neediest populations -- which has been struggling financially due to the economic crisis. NGOs will have until September 1 to request financial assistance from the ministry, whose aid package is some NIS 200 million available through 2010. Organizations approved to receive assistance will only be eligible for 10 percent of their annual budget, unless the services they provide go to communities situated in the country's periphery. The financial aid package was one of the first steps approved by the current government last April in an attempt to bail out fledgling charities and other non-profits that are an integral part of running so many of the government's privatized social welfare programs. "These organizations are involved in some of the country's holiest work," said Herzog in a statement Wednesday. "Hopefully this injection of funds will help those who are on the verge of collapse."