Gov. Chris Christie is touting the benefits of a recent trip to Israel.

Christie says his first visit to the Middle East was "an extraordinary experience" for him, his family and the 13 business and religious leaders who traveled with them.

Christie was in Jerusalem during Holy Week for a trade mission and tour. He then traveled to Jordan with his family before returning home on Sunday.

While there, he met with top Israeli leaders Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Perez and furthered a potential deal for an Israeli pharmaceutical company to expand in New Jersey.

The Republican is speaking at the Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center in Bridgewater. Most of the trip was financed privately.

Taxpayers paid for Christie's security detail. The cost hasn't been released yet.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)