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Dear Mr. President,

It's an honor and a great privilege for me to write you this letter from Space. As you probably know, I blasted off to space about ten days ago on board of Space Shuttle Columbia, and by that got lucky to be the first Israeli in Space.

During the last four and a half years I have been in training for this mission, and after a few delays we finally made it.

As a lot of my fellow astronauts at NASA told me - it was worth the wait - the experience of being in space is something that no words can really describe and although we work 18 hours a day, we have a lot of fun and extraordinary and exciting time.

This morning - Saturday January 26 - we had flown over Israel, and although it wasn't the first pass, it was the best.

From space I could easily spot Jerusalem and while looking at Jerusalem our capital I prayed just one short prayer - "Shema Israel Adonai Elohenou Adonai Echad." (Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One)

I believe, as I said a few times earlier, that we have in Israel the best people with a phenomenal abilities, and it takes only the right leadership to lead the people of Israel to reach the sky!

Mr. President, if you would find it appropriate, please convey my deep appreciation to all Israel's citizens, and let them know that I am honored to be their first representative ever in Space. In our mission we have a variety of international scientific experiments and scientists, including scientists from Arab states. We are all working this mission for the benefit of all mankind, and from space our world looks as one unity with no borders. So let me call from up here in space - let's work our way for peace and better life for every one on Earth.

With that I thank you, Mr. President, and send you my best blessing for a long and healthy life - to you and all your family.

Ilan Ramon, Space Shuttle Columbia, day 12 in space.