ISS astronaut sends 'shalom' and photos of Israel from outer space

First woman to command the International Space Station, Italy’s Samantha Cristoforetti, shares amazing snaps of the Haifa and Tel Aviv metropolitan areas as well the Dead Sea from orbit

Yaron Drukman|
International Space Station commander Samantha Cristoforetti on Saturday greeted Israel with "shalom" and a handful of mesmerizing snaps of the Jewish state from outer space.
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  • The Italian astronaut posted the pictures from orbit on her Twitter account, featuring the Haifa and Tel Aviv metropolitan areas as well the Dead Sea as she continues to photograph and broadcast pictures of different regions of planet Earth from outer space.
    3 View gallery
    בריכות האידוי בדרום ים המלח
    בריכות האידוי בדרום ים המלח
    The Dead Sea as seen from on board the ISS
    (Photo: Samantha Cristoforetti)
    "Shalom & hello to #Israel and the cities of Haifa and Tel Aviv at night," she wrote in the caption.
    She also added that she was "intrigued by these straight lines at the southern end of the Dead Sea – turns out it’s a complex of Jordanian salt evaporation ponds!"
    3 View gallery
    חיפה ויישובים נוספים באזור
    חיפה ויישובים נוספים באזור
    Haifa metropolitan area as seen from on board the ISS
    (Photo: Samantha Cristoforetti)
    Cristoforetti's footage of Haifa extends from Israel's third-largest city through the Krayot urban cluster and all the way to the historical city of Acre.
    The image of the Tel Aviv conurbation depicts the lights of the financial hub and its adjacent cities piercing through the nighttime darkness on the coast of the Mediterranean.
    3 View gallery
    תל אביב ויישובים נוספים בגוש דן
    תל אביב ויישובים נוספים בגוש דן
    Tel Aviv metropolitan area as seen from on board the ISS
    (Photo: Samantha Cristoforetti)
    While Cristoforetti has won praise from Israeli online users for the spellbinding shots, she was also hit with some less favorable comments from pro-Palestinian netizens.
    She also recently posted pictures of Pavia, Rome, and Lazio in Italy. On Friday, she posted an image of the Southern African nation of Botswana and congratulated its people for its Independence Day.
    Cristoforetti, a 45-year-old polyglot and mother of five, became the first European woman to take command of the International Space Station last week. She currently holds the record for the European woman who has spent the longest time in space at 357 days, as of Sunday.
    Transfer of an oxygen tank at the International Space Station
    (European Space Agency)
    This is Cristoforetti's second trip to space, after spending 199 days on board the ISS between November 2014 and May 2015, when she first broke the record for the longest stay in space by a woman.
    Among her many firsts, Cristoforetti recently became the first-ever astronaut to operate a TikTok account through which she takes her followers on virtual tours of the ISS and offers an inside peek to her daily life on board the space station.
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