NJ’s Christie Visits Israel, Says US Must Show Solidarity in War Against Hamas
KFAR AZZA, Israel — Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie on Sunday visited Israel, expressing solidarity in Israel's war against Hamas and saying the U.S. must stand “shoulder to shoulder” with its close ally.
Christie toured a kibbutz that was ravaged in the Oct. 7 rampage by Hamas militants that triggered the war and was meeting Israeli leaders during his one-day visit. The former New Jersey governor is the first candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination to visit Israel.
“I came here because I wanted to see this for myself," Christie said during a tour of Kfar Azza, one of more than 20 towns and villages attacked by Hamas militants on Oct. 7. Israel says over 1,200 people were killed and 239 others are being held hostage in Gaza.
“To be able to walk through a neighborhood like this and see what was done to the people, to still be able to walk into one of these homes and smell the death still, a month later, is something that I think the American people need to know.”
Christie, the 2024 race’s most vocal critic of former president, Donald J. Trump, has cast himself as the only Republican willing to directly take him on. Trump has not visited Israel during the current campaign cycle, though President Joe Biden has.
The Republican candidates have all lined up behind Israel, even as the country comes under growing international pressure to halt or scale back an offensive in the Gaza Strip in which over 11,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed.
“I want the people of Israel to know that there are hundreds and millions of Americans who stand with them, who understand the atrocities that were committed, and why in the future we need to stand absolutely shoulder to shoulder with Israel," said Christie.
Christie has positioned himself as someone who if elected would defend U.S. interests and democracy abroad. He has previously visited Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The trip marks his second trip to a warring country since the start of his presidential bid, after a visit to Ukraine in August.
By far the most strident critic of Trump in the Republican field, Christie has consistently been in the low single digits in national polls, far behind the former president.
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