Friend Ships pleased with Trump's Jerusalem announcement

Friend Ships pleased with Trump's Jerusalem announcement

Reaction continues to the announcement from President Trump on Jerusalem. He said the United States will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and that the U.S. embassy will move there from Tel Aviv.

Sondra Tipton president of local disaster relief organization Friend Ships, says the organization is pleased with Trump's announcement.

"We think it's a long overdue move," she said. "It's something that our country and our lawmakers decided to do I think in the '90s, and it's just been put off.  Israel is an independent country, recognized by the whole world as a country, and they have a right to say where their capital is. And they say it's Jerusalem, and so it's high time that we move our embassy to Jerusalem."

The Bible says those who bless Israel will be blessed, and that's one reason some Christians favor supporting Israel.

Friend Ships is a Christian, charitable organization that provides disaster relief. Two years ago it hosted Jerusalem Call, an event aimed at providing information and encouraging Christians to support Israel, including Jerusalem as the capital and moving the U.S. embassy there.

"As a Christian, we believe in the Bible, and we believe that there's one land grant that's ever been given to mankind and that was when God told Abraham, 'I'm giving you this property,' and that's the land of the Jews, that's Israel," said Tipton. "And he said that he was giving it to them forever. And so we believe that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, and we believe, as Christians, we should support them and help them. And not only that, they're a really great ally - they're the only democracy in the Middle East and they're a wonderful friend."

While some fear the president's action will make peace even harder to achieve, Tipton disagrees.

"It's just a starting point to go from there and see what can be done as far as negotiations in the country," she said. "The White House has said clearly that it's not a statement as far as how land should be divided. That's between the Israelis and the Palestinians to decide."

Friend Ships operates a medical camp for Syrian refugees at the border with Israel. Tipton recently returned after spending two months there.

"We're working with the Israeli government to help who is their traditional enemy, the Arabs on the other side of their border, and Syria, with medical aid and it's a wonderful partnership," said Tipton.

It's a project she says blesses Israel while providing medical care to thousands of Syrians. Syria has been in a civil war for six years and Tipton says they treat children every day who have never known a day without war.

"It's very exciting to us to be able to welcome them into our camp that we have there," Tipton said. "We have them treated by doctors. We give them medicine. We have a huge play area for the children where they can just forget about what's out there and enjoy their time. We give them food and clothing to take home with them and just love on them as much as we can. And the Israelis make it possible for us to do that in a relatively safe environment."

Tipton says Camp Ichay is in extreme need of doctors if there are any who want to volunteer, including medical personnel and other people willing to do general work. For more information, you can contact medical@friendships.org

She says they continue to take donations of new underwear and warm socks, shoes - especially men's shoes - warm coats and blankets at Port Mercy, at 1019 First Avenue in Lake Charles. Monetary donations also help fund their efforts, such as travel expenses.

We reached out to the Islamic Society in Lake Charles, but no one was available.

For more on how you can help Friend Ships' relief efforts near the border with Israel, visit their website.

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.