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Christie Tells Peres New Jersey Wants to Expand Ties With Israel

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie met with Israeli President Shimon Peres and said he hopes to expand commercial ties with the Jewish state.

Christie visited Peres today before laying a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and embarking on a tour of Israeli companies with links to his state.

“New Jersey stands with Israel in all its endeavors,” Christie said in an audio recording from the welcoming ceremony at Peres’ residence in Jerusalem that was e-mailed by the president’s office. Peres called Christie an “outstanding friend of Israel.”

Christie, who is traveling with his family and a delegation of business executives, met yesterday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 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.

After Yad Vashem, Christie was scheduled to visit Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world’s biggest maker of generic drugs, in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petach Tikvah, according to his schedule. He also planned to tour Better Place Inc., which developed a battery-charging system for electric cars.

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.

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