Israelis play in the snow on January 8, 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel. Not so for students in Tzfat. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

Israel was struck by a freakish storm this week, covering parts of the country in that most uncommon and precious of treasures, snow. For most Israelis, this meant a day or two of pretending like they lived anywhere else but a sweltering Middle Eastern nation. But for 120 high school seniors in Tzfat, much more was in stake: they were slated to take their Bagrut exam in literature—one of the final matriculation tests necessary to graduate—this morning, but the heavy snowfall and icy roads meant that traveling to and from the school was a tricky and perilous proposition.

Enter the IDF: in a much more pastoral, but similarly logistically demanding, version of the raid in Entebbe, the army launched Operation Antigone in White, named after the Greek tragedy featured heavily in the exam. A dozen military jeeps were dispatched to areas impenetrable to regular vehicles, with soldiers extracting students from their snow-ensconced homes and driving them to school. Students who lived in more accessible areas were collected by a convoy of three buses and several snow trucks, the latter sprinkling salt on the frozen ground and plowing their way to their destination. It took two hours, but shortly after noon, all students were at their desks, blue books at hand, ready to discuss the bereaved Greek princess who disobeyed the king.

Even though they missed out on a once-in-a-century snow day, the students were deeply grateful for the effort. “Despite the fact that it snowed and the thing to do was go out and play,” one student told the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv, “we’re happy we took the test on time, because postponing it would have made the subject matter a bit foggier in our minds and make us forget. Now, with the stuff still fresh in our minds, we made it through the Bagrut.” Mazal tov, then, to the high school seniors of Tzfat, giant nerds as they may be.

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