Corzine reports from Israel

Thirty-six hours into his trip to Israel, Gov Jon Corzine sayshe feels as though he’s in New Jersey because of thelarge numbers of New Jersey visitors he keeps encountering.

He’s hoping to build on the good connections.

“There is an enormous opportunity since Israel isfocused on biotech and alternative energy,”Corzine told reporters in an afternoon conference call.”There is a great opportunity to expand our business.”

He noted the recent move ofwhat he described as asmallIsraeli video telecom business to Fairlawn as an example of the kind of investment that benefits New Jersey.

Must of the geo-political discussionsthe governor says he has engaged in duringhistrip have had to do with the potential threat of Iran.He says among Israelis with whom he has talked, there is support for building an international coalition and imposing economic sanctions on Iran.

Asked about Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) criticism of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Il) for condeming the troop surge in Iraq before traveling to the Middle East to see its effects, Corzine said he’s heard no one in Israel join in the condemnation.

“I haven’t heardany criticism,” said the governor. “Most people don’t think it’s inappropriate for Sen. Obama to be finding out what other people’s perspectives are.

“Sen. McCain’s compaints are due to the political season, and notserious critiism of someone who’s engaging in reasonable discussions,” Corzine added.

Corzine says those political leaders with whom he’s spoken have neither embraced nor rejected Obama. He says his sense of most Isrealis is they believe that an Obama administration would maintain America’s strong ties with Israel.

“There’s not an expectation that Sen Obama would be anything other than supportive of Israel’s right to exist,” said the governor.

Over the remaining three and a half days of his trip (which Corzine’s self-funding but for the passage of three staffers,a tabthe state will pick up),Corzine said heplans to continue to try to create New Jersey economic opportunites. It’s doubtful that he would take another trip to Israel, he said,unless there is a significantbusiness relocation to New Jersey.

Corzine reports from Israel