Palestinian children play as snow falls in front of the Dome of the Rock mosque in the old city of Jerusalem. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

“The first objective is to save lives, the second to open roads and the third to supply electricity,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement reported by the Times of Israel.

Netanyahu wasn’t talking about the aftermath of a terrorist incident or a Hamas rocket attack. He was talking about snow — of which Jerusalem got a whopping eight inches on Friday, closing roads and schools. Snow also fell this week in parts of Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

“On Wednesday it even snowed briefly, a cataclysmic event in this city, which made my normal 20-minute cab ride home an hour-long ordeal,” Emily Kennedy, reporting from Amman, Jordan, wrote for the Daily Trojan, the University of Southern California’s student newspaper. “This wasn’t ordinary snow, however; it was dusty snow, mixed with the dirt in the air so that when it fell, you were showered with brown, slushy snow rather than the picturesque, fluffy white snowflakes.”


Girls walk in snow outside Jerusalem’s old city on Feb. 20, 2015. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

Meanwhile, in Turkey, a snowball fight led to violence. After two feet of snow fell on Istanbul, a shopkeeper confronted a 49-year-old journalist who inadvertently hit his window with an icy missile intended for someone else.

“The shopkeeper came out of his shop swearing and waving a bat,” Alper Kamisli, a local resident who said he had witnessed the episode, told the New York Times. “There was a big commotion. It was hard to see, but he ended up going back into the shop, getting a knife, and came back to stab the young man. I heard that he died on his way to the hospital.”

Here’s what the snow looked like on social media: