Chris Christie headed to Israel, Jordan

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is headed to Israel on Sunday for a four-day trip intended to “strengthen New Jersey’s economic and diplomatic relationships with foreign nations,” his office announced.

Christie’s visit, which will take place during Holy Week, is being billed as a trade mission focusing on economic growth, diplomacy and observance. Christie will travel with members of his family and a delegation from New Jersey’s Jewish and business communities.

Christie’s office said he will meet with diplomatic leaders and honor the region’s people, traditions and culture. Christie will also spend a few days in neighboring Jordan before returning to New Jersey.

It isn’t uncommon for governors to travel to Israel on trade missions, but the gesture is likely to feed speculation that Christie is laying the groundwork for higher office. High-profile visits to Israel have become a rite of passage for potential presidential candidates as they work to shore up their foreign-policy credentials and reassure conservatives that they support the strategic ally.

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