The trip will be his second to a war zone since opening his presidential bid.
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Chris Christie during the third Republican presidential primary debate. The former New Jersey governor will meet with Israeli officials and tour the region around Gaza.
Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey who is running for president, will go to Israel on Sunday, pressing what he sees as his foreign policy advantage in the race and challenging the other Republicans seeking the White House nomination to join him.
The trip will be his second to a war zone since opening his presidential bid. In August, he paid a surprise visit to Ukraine and met with that country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. The details of his itinerary remain under wraps for security purposes, but his campaign said he would be conferring with Israeli officials, visiting a hospital treating survivors of the Oct. 7 massacre by Hamas, and touring the region around Gaza to meet with families still bereft over the attack last month that claimed the lives of around 1,400 in Israel, most of them civilians.
“If I’m going to continue to be a strong advocate for doing everything we need to do to defend Israel, I got to see it for myself,” he told voters in New Hampshire Thursday. “And if you really want to lead, you need to go over and show the people of Israel that one person running for president of the United States cares enough to get on an airplane and get over there and do what needs to be done to find out how we fix this problem.”
Another person in the race has already done that — the incumbent, President Biden. But the Republican front-runner, former President Donald J. Trump, has not.
Mr. Trump made his tight alliance with Israel’s right-wing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a key foreign policy plank of his presidency. He moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights and withdrew any American pressure on Israel to halt settlements in the occupied West Bank and resume talks on an autonomous Palestinian state.
The Trump administration’s brokering of peace agreements between Israel and the Arab Gulf States, called “the Abraham accord,” further isolated Palestinians, and the Biden administration had been making an effort to extend those agreements to Saudi Arabia. Hamas’s attack was launched in part to thwart those peace talks.
Mr. Christie, along with Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations, has separated himself from Mr. Trump and other more isolationist voices in the race with a full-throated embrace of American military and diplomatic force projection abroad, in Ukraine, Israel and East Asia.
Jonathan Weisman is a Chicago-based political correspondent, veteran journalist and author of the novel “No. 4 Imperial Lane” and the nonfiction book “(((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump.” His career in journalism stretches back 30 years. More about Jonathan Weisman
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