Gov goes from Jersey to Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (TARA TODRAS-WHITEHILL / Associated Press)

In a trip officially dubbed "Jersey To Jerusalem: Economic Growth, Diplomacy, Observance," the governor, his staff, a contingent of New Jerseyans and the First Family head to the Holy Land this weekend.

Christie will meet with political leaders and check out the tourist sites in Israel before stopping in Jordan for a family vacation on the way home. The trip to Jordan, according to Christie's office, comes "by invitation from the king." (The last time I was in Jordan I hailed a cab from the Israeli border. So this is a different kind of thing, I guess.)

The trip to Israel is intended to "strengthen New Jersey’s economic and diplomatic relationships with foreign nations," his office said.

Lt. Gov. Guadagno will run the state for a week while he's gone.

The gubernatorial entourage includes representatives from the state's business and Jewish communities. While overseas taxpayers will pick up the normal tab for the governor's "security and protection," the governor's office said, with all other costs covered by ChooseNJ, a nonprofit dedicated to building the state's economy, and the national Republican Jewish Coalition.

The journey to Jerusalem is a Jersey tradition. Former Govs. Brendan Byrne, Tom Kean, Jim Florio, Christie Whitman and James E. McGreevey all made the pilgrimage.