Sasson Gabai (Hebrew: ששון גבאי‎‎; born 24 November 1947) is an Israeli actor.[1] Winner of an Ophir Award,[2]Asia Pacific Screen Award (nominated),[3]European Film Awards[4] and Jerusalem Film Festival[5] in 2007 as Best Actor in a highly acclaimed Israeli film "The Band's Visit".[6]


Gabai was born in Baghdad in 1947 to an Iraqi Jewish family. During his childhood he immigrated together with his family to Israel. After serving his mandatory military service in the Israeli Defense Forces he studied theater and psychology at the Tel Aviv University.[7] After graduating he began playing in the Khan Theater in Michael Alfreds group. Afterwards he played in several stage productions at the Hacameri Theater, the Be'er Sheva Theater and the Beit Lessin Theater, in which he currently is one of the permanent staff. Among the many plays he participated in were "Servant of Two Masters", "Catch 22", "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?", and "Rain Man". Gabai also played in the 1989 children's musical "Peter Pan" as Captain Hook.

Through the years Gabai played in various Israeli and international films: "Sipurei Tel-Aviv","Time for Cherries", for which he won an Ophir award, "Rambo III", the "Escape from Saudi Arabia", "Made in Israel", "Aviva, My Love" and many others.

Through the years Gabai also played in the various productions in the Israeli television. Among others he played in series "The Haim Neighborhood" (שכונת חיים), "Siton" (סיטון), "Late Night Stories" (סיפורים לשעת לילה מאוחרת), and in the drama series "The Kastner Trial" (משפט קסטנר) in which he played Rudolf Kastner, he was a host in the comedy series "Zehu Ze!", and played a cameo role in the popular comedy series "Krovim Krovim", in addition to many other productions. Gabai resides in Tel Aviv, is married and has five children.


  • In 2007 Gabai starred in the critically acclaimed film "The Band's Visit", a role for which he won an Ophir Award and a European Film Award.
  • In 2008 he played the role of Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr in the American TV mini-series "House of Saddam".
  • In 2009 Gabai began to play the lead role in the TV series "Polishuk", a role for which he won an Israeli Television Academy Award in the category of best actor in a comedy series[citation needed].
  • In 2011 he played the lead role in a film "Restoration", a role for which he was nominated for an Ophir Award.

Film and television credits

List of film and television credits
Year Title Role Notes
1973 Or Min Hahefker Shaya
1987 The Impossible Spy General Haled[8]
1988 Rambo III Mousa
1991 Time for Cherries or Cherry Season Choko Original title: Onat Haduvdevanim
1991 Not Without My Daughter Hamid
1992 Blink of an Eye Khalil
1998 Escape: Human Cargo Suliman Nasir Rasi TV Movie
1999 Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol Minister Oman
2001 The Order Yuri
2006 Aviva My Love Oded Zar
2007 The Band's Visit Lieutenant-colonel Tawfiq Zacharya Original title: Bikur Ha-Tizmoret
2008 Hello Goodbye Police chief
2009- Polishuk Minister Polishuk TV series
2011 When Pigs Have Wings Jafaar
2013 Hunting Elephants Eliyahu Original title: Latzud Pilim
2014 Gett – The Trial of Viviane Amsallem
2015 Shtisel