Governor Chris Christie met with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday, as part of the governor’s ‘Jersey to Jerusalem Trade Mission,’ aimed at strengthening commercial ties with the Jewish state.
“New Jersey stands with Israel in all its endeavors,” Christie said in an audio recording issued by the president’s office.
Christie also met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and said they had a “really good and fruitful discussion” about regional issues, including Iran’s disputed nuclear program and expanding trade between Israel and New Jersey.
Christie also visited the Western Wall, the Mount of Olives, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, as well as other heritage sites.
“What I’ve been told by others is seeing it physically will help me to understand better the sense they feel of being under siege,” Christie said.
There has been speculation as to whether Christie’s visit to the region is part of his effort to garner Jewish support in the 2016 presidential election. However disregarded the rumors, saying, “I’ve come here because this is a momentous and significant place. I’ve always wanted to visit Israel but never had the opportunity until now.”
Christie also took a trip to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world’s biggest maker of generic drugs, and Better Place Inc., which develops of a battery-charging system for electric cars.
More than 700 New Jersey companies do business with Israel and 65 Israeli firms maintain operations in the U.S. state, according to the website of the New Jersey- Israel Commission.
New Jersey has the second-highest Jewish population by percentage after New York, according to Census data. Jews made up 5.8 percent of New Jersey’s 2009 population, trailing New York’s 8.3 percent, reported Bloomberg Businessweek.