PM to Christie: Israel, New Jersey are similar (JERUSALEM POST) By HERB KEINON 04/03/12)
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Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, a man mentioned as a possible
Republican vice-presidential candidate, met Monday with Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and said it was only natural Israel would
be his first foreign destination as governor.
“This is my first visit abroad as governor and there was never any
question of where we would come first, so I’m glad we did,” Christie
said before the meeting.
He was elected governor in November 2009.
Netanyahu welcomed Christie with a line likely to become fodder for
US late night comedians, saying, “You know, there are so many
similarities between New Jersey and Israel.”
“We’re roughly the same size,” Netanyahu said. “We’re roughly the
same population. I know your voters have better neighbors. Other than
that, there are several similarities and I look forward to discussing
how we can increase the cooperation.”
Soon after Netanyahu made his comment, prominent US political
journalist and blogger Ben Smith tweeted: “Other things New Jersey
and Israel have in common: Beaches, obsessive politeness.”
Christie endorsed Republican candidate Mitt Romney in October, ending
months of speculation that he himself might enter the 2012
Christie arrived in Israel Monday for a visit billed as “Jersey to
Jerusalem: Economic Growth, Diplomacy, Observance,” accompanied by
his family and a delegation of 14 business and Jewish leaders. Among
them was Dan Senor, co-author of the popular book Start-Up Nation:
The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle.
The four-day visit to Israel is being seen by some as Christie’s way
of putting himself on the national political map.
He will be here until Thursday, when he will travel to Jordan for a
meeting with King Abdullah II.
Christie met Netanyahu soon after arriving, and – according to
officials in the Prime Minister’s Office – their discussion dealt
first with economic issues, then the region.
Regarding the changes in the Middle East, Netanyahu said the world
was witnessing a “tectonic shift in the region,” in that “it appears
the so-called Arab Spring is being painted green – and I am talking
about Islamists and not environmentalists.”
Netanyahu was not relating to recent events in Egypt, where a Muslim
Brotherhood candidate has announced his intention to run for
president, but rather at how events have played out in Tunisia,
Morocco and Libya, officials in his office explained.
While they also discussed Iran and Syria, the Palestinian issue did
not even come up. American politics was another issue that was not
raised, with one official saying Netanyahu is careful to avoid
discussing this issue with visiting leaders.
Three of Christie’s children came to the Prime Minister’s Office to
meet Netanyahu, and shuffled out before the meeting began. “It was
cute,” one official said of the children aged 16, 12 and nine. “They
were well-behaved.” (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/03/12)
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