British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is to play the role of Eli Cohen, a spy for Israel in Syria in the early 1960s, in a new Netflix series, US entertainment media reported Wednesday.
The six-episode drama, “The Spy,” will be written and directed by Israeli Gideon Raff, best known for the Hebrew-language drama series “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War) and its acclaimed US adaptation “Homeland.”
Mossad agent Cohen was put on trial and executed by the Syrian government for espionage on May 18, 1965, after he successfully infiltrated the Syrian government under the alias Kamel Amin Thaabet for four years. The intelligence conveyed to Israel during that period was credited by then-prime minister Levi Eshkol as greatly assisting Israel during the Six Day War.
Jewish Londoner Baron Cohen, who shot to fame as the satirical character Ali G. and who went on to make films such as “Borat,” “The Dictator” and “The Brothers Grimsby,” is currently appearing on a Netflix special called “Seth Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity.”
Baron Cohen and his actress wife Isla Fisher have donated to causes in Syria, pledging $1 million in December 2015 to help Syrian refugees.
Half that amount went to Save the Children to pay for measles vaccinations for children in northern Syria and the other half went to the International Rescue Committee to help refugees in Syria and neighboring countries, particularly women and children, with health care, shelter and sanitation.