New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie, after meeting with Israel’s U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren Monday, said he will make his first official visit to Israel in the spring. He likely will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
"We look forward to continuing to strengthen our ties," Christie told reporters. "There’s a great, great, great, long-term connection between New Jersey and Israel and I intend to make that as strong as I can along with the ambassador and other important folks in the Israeli government."
His state’s Jewish residents make up nearly 6 percent of New Jersey’s population, more than twice the national rate.
The governor recently ruled himself out as a contender for the Republican presidential nominee next year.
Gov. Christie met with Oren in the state capital Monday, and the ambassador stated, "Israel faces some acute and unique challenges, and we overcome those challenges through our strong support from the United States in general, and New Jersey in particular.”
Oren asked to meet with the governor after he heard him speak at a Jewish event, according to Gov. Christie’s spokeswoman.
Gov. Christie is following along tradition of New Jersey governors, almost all of whom have visited Israel in recent decades.
Former Gov. Jon S. Corzine traveled to Tel Aviv in 2008 to promote trade.