By JOHN FORTMEYER
PORTLAND — A leading reservist in Israel’s military forces told a gathering of both Christians and Jews in a synagogue here last month that the Mideast is more unpredictable than ever, and that’s why support for the nation of Israel remains critical.
“It’s so crazy out there,” Elliot Chodoff said during the Night to Honor Israel sponsored by Christians United for Israel (CUFI). “There is a sea of turbulence and violence — and one sea of tranquility in the middle of it, and that is Israel.”
Chodoff, a major in the Israeli Defense Forces reserves, said the support of American Christians is needed more than ever to preserve Israel.
“Organizations like CUFI are a critical part of this fight,” he said.
The evening meeting took place March 19 at Congregation Shaarei Torah in west Portland; the mixed audience of Christians and Jews were welcomed by synagogue Rabbi Arthur “Zucky” Zuckerman as well as Pastor Denny Stahl of Calvary Chapel Grants Pass, the Oregon director for Christians United for Israel.
Chodoff was introduced by Randy Neal, Western regional coordinator for CUFI. Neal noted that CUFI, founded by Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee, has grown to 1.7 million members nationally. Neal said it is imperative that Christians stand with Israel because Scripture is clear about God’s special love for the Jewish people.
“It’s not about Israel, it’s about whether you believe what the Bible says,” said Neal. “If you call yourself a Christian you really can’t look at yourself in the mirror if you don’t love what God loves.”
Chodoff is the population officer for Israel’s Northern Command and an internationally recognized expert on the Mideast and counterterrorism. Despite his expertise, he acknowledged that the situation in that part of the world has become so fluid that “we really don’t know what’s going on,” and that anyone who claims to know is misguided.
“When you hear the talking heads on TV, understand that they don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said.
Among the changes in the Mideast, he said, is that longstanding boundaries no long apply; the traditional power players for the first time are no longer Arab, but are instead nations like Iran and Turkey, and in the recent turmoil dictatorships have fallen and monarchies have unexpectedly survived.
The Iranian threat to Israel remains ever clearer, though, Chodoff said. Calling Iran the “greatest state sponsor of global terrorism,” Chodoff said Iran is increasingly extending the range of its ballistic missiles.
“It is highly, highly unlikely that an Israeli government is going to let Iran get nuclear weapons,” he said. “I think it’s obvious that Israel’s going to do what it has to do.”
For more on CUFI, go to cufi.org.