In the immediate wake of Hamas’ attacks against Israeli citizens on October 7, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates (LSCU & Affiliates) reached out to Ofek Credit Union, the only credit union in Israel, and offered assistance following the deadliest attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust.
Ofek Credit Union is a pioneer in Israel, with its founders working to pass legislation to re-establish the nation’s first credit union in almost half a century. The credit union now has nearly 15,000 members, supporting small businesses and families throughout the nation.
“The results of the terrorist attack on communities and kibbutzim in the south are almost paralyzing. I know the kibbutzim in the south very well, and many, many people I know there personally have been killed, or even kidnapped,” said Ofek Credit Union Co-Founder and CEO Tom Dromi in the days following the attacks. “Our team is currently analyzing the needs of the communities in the south of Israel and preparing both long-term and short-term assistance. We are establishing a dedicated fund to aid the restoration of families and small businesses in the south.”
As Ofek is the only credit union in Israel, it lacks the backing of a national trade association to help its members in times of crisis. As such, the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation (SECUF), the charitable arm of LSCU, has stepped up to provide compassionate assistance to Ofek, its members, and the communities devastated by these attacks.
“Concern for community and the cooperative spirit encourage us to do all we can for our global community, especially as we in this nation and in our region have been the recipients of that same generosity in times of crisis,” said LSCU President Samantha Beeler. “We can and should support Israeli cooperatives and specifically Tom and Ofek Credit Union as they work to defend, rebuild, and restore their community.”
Individual credit unions have also answered the call to help Israelis impacted by these attacks. We Florida Financial Credit Union recently announced a donation of $25,000 to the American Friends of Magen David Adom (Israel’s National Emergency Medical Service) and an ongoing campaign to donate $18 for every new checking account opened using the code “Relief.” The number 18 is symbolic in Israeli culture, numerologically connected to the Hebrew word “chai,” meaning “life.”
“As a credit union, our purpose lies in the desire to make a positive impact and bring about change in our world,” said Robert D. Ramirez, President and CEO of We Florida Financial Credit Union. “It is through acts of kindness, one at a time, that we embody the true spirit of a credit union. We believe in the power of collective effort, and we encourage our credit union colleagues to lend a helping hand in any way they can.”
LSCU invites interested credit unions to donate through SECUF, where all dollars will be earmarked specifically for the cause in Israel, you can donate here today and select the “Israel Relief” option, or contact SECUF Director Bobbi Grady at email@example.com.