Why Nathan Deal is taking an election-year trip to Israel

Israel may seem a strange pick for the state trade mission that begins Friday. But the journey to the Holy Land packs a punch that goes far beyond business.

Sure, there will be stops designed to strengthen economic ties with Israel, a relatively minor trading partner. But the five-day trip — Gov. Nathan Deal’s only major overseas journey scheduled this election year — is steeped in cultural, religious and political undertones that could resonate through November.

The governor will visit some of Jerusalem’s holiest sites, his aides will trade tips with Israeli counterparts and Deal will be pressured to improve Holocaust education in Georgia. And then there’s the not-so-subtle political subtext.