New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who is expected to run for president in 2016 if the Republicans lose the current election, will arrive in Israel on Sunday for a four-day visit.
Christie came under pressure from leaders of his Republican Party to throw his hat in the ring and challenge US President Barack Obama. But he decided he needed more experience first as a governor.
His visit is part of an initiative to strengthen New Jersey's economic and diplomatic relationships with foreign nations. He will meet Tuesday with President Shimon Peres, and other meetings with top Israeli officials are in the works before he leaves for Jordan.
"The governor will travel to several areas of the country to visit businesses, meet with diplomatic leaders and pay respect to the culture and traditions of the region and its people," Christie's office said.
Christie will visit the Western Wall, Israel Museum, and Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and receive briefings on security, intelligence and terrorism. He will be accompanied by members of his family and staff, as well as a delegation of 14 leaders of New Jersey's business and Jewish communities.
The list of Jewish leaders includes MetroWest Jewish Federation Executive Vice President Max Kleinman, Start Up Nation
co-author Dan Senor, and State Senator Robert Singer, whose daughter, Sarri, was injured in the 2003 Bus 14 suicide bombing in Jerusalem.