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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Sacha Baron Cohen’s character Erran Morad could be based on a real person

The similarities are uncanny: the jawline, the hair, the eyebrows, the dress and the accent

Sacha Baron Cohen's character in Who is America? dupes politicians into backing guns for toddlers
Sacha Baron Cohen's character in Who is America? dupes politicians into backing guns for toddlers

Speculation is mounting as to whether Sacha Baron Cohen’s Israeli military expert character, Erran Morad, is based on a real person: Matan Gavish.

Gavish, a former officer for a special-ops unit in the Israeli Defence Forces, runs a martial arts and self-defence academy and counts the New York Police Department among his clients. The similarities are uncanny: the jawline, the hair, the eyebrows, the dress and the accent.

Gavish himself says people have been commenting on it.

In a video tweeted by Taly Krupkin, who works for Haaretz newspaper, a good-natured Gavish says he initially didn’t see the similarities between him and Morad but “everyone around me did … which I thought was pretty funny.”

In his new show, This is America, Cohen poses as an Israeli military expert in anti-terrorism. He persuades American politicians to support a “kinder-guardian” programme, which aims to arm young children with guns.

The show has stirred controversy, with Republican Georgia state representative Jason Spencer resigning his post two days after the show was aired. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former congressman Joe Walsh and ex-US Senate candidate Roy Moore are among other politicians who have been caught out by Cohen.

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Read more:

Is Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Who is America’ really exposing issues?

The real message of Who is America? is how high the bar of outrage needs to be before it even registers

One joke at a time: how the Arab world is (slowly) tickling its funny bone

Georgia politician to resign after shouting racist slurs on Sacha Baron Cohen show

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