Created by Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff, ‘Fauda’ is an Israeli military action thriller series airing internationally on Netflix. The story predominantly revolves around Doron Kavillio (Raz), a former field commander of an unnamed unit of the Israel Defense Force (IDF). Doron has long left the military life behind and now owns a vineyard. However, when it is revealed that the terrorist he thought he had killed is still very much alive, Doron reunites with his old unit to hunt down the man. If you are wondering whether Doron is based on a real IDF Commander, we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is Doron Kavillio a Real IDF Commander?
No, ‘Fauda’s Doron Kavillio is not based on a real IDF commander, but both Raz and Issacharoff served in the Duvdevan Unit, so they heavily drew from their personal experiences to flesh out this character and developed ‘Fauda’ as a series.
The unnamed unit in the show is based on the Duvdevan or Unit 217, a mistaʽaravim (anti-terrorism) unit in the IDF’s Commando Brigade. The Hebrew word “Duvdevan” translates to the word “cherry,” noting that the Duvdevan Unit is “the cherry on top” in the IDF. While military service is mandatory in Israel for men and women, enlisting in the Duvdevan Unit is voluntary. This particular branch of IDF deals with undercover, high-risk, and complicated operations in urban areas, which are almost always classified.
‘Fauda’ offers a candid depiction of the Israel-Palestine conflict and how gray and complex it can be, though, predictably, it is told through the Israeli perspective. Raz and Issacharoff met when they were young and used to spend time at the same bars in Jerusalem. After serving in the military, Issacharoff, who was born in a Bukharan-Jewish family, went on to become a well-respected journalist. In 2014, a group of masked Palestinian rioters reportedly attacked Issacharoff and a cameraperson during a violent protest in the Palestinian city of Beitunia.
Both Raz and Issacharoff hail from a Mizrahi, or Middle Eastern, background. They both also are both fluent in Arabic. Raz’s father came from Iraq, whereas his mother was born in Algeria. A career officer, Raz’s father served in the Shin Bet and the Israeli version of the NAVY Seals. It was a longtime dream of Raz to join the Duvdevan, and he did so when he was 18 years old. “We were eighteen, and you just don’t know what you are doing,” An army friend of Raz recalled in an interview with The New Yorker. “I thought we were going to be like James Bond, wearing black tie and drinking a Martini and getting the bad guys.”
Raz added, “Instead, we got fatigues and a falafel in Ramallah. You want to be part of the best people in the country, to test yourself. You want to be true to your friends, to protect them and be part of a team that works together.”
Some aspects of Doron’s life in the show is based on Raz’s experiences. Moreover, episode 3 is dedicated to Iris Azulai, Raz’s late girlfriend, who was reportedly killed in a knife attack along with two others by a young Palestinian man. “This was a Sunday morning, and I was in Ein Kerem Hospital getting my leg looked at for stress fractures,” Raz remembered. “I heard from someone there that there had been this attack. Iris’s brother called me and said she had been wounded. I just started to walk in a daze until my mother picked me up on the road.”
‘Fauda’ is quite faithful in depicting what the Duvdevan Unit does. Just as it is shown in the show, the unit’s job involves arresting or neutralizing a target during quick “in-and-out jobs.” According to people who have served in the Duvdevan Unit, ‘Fauda’ gets the tactical aspects right, though the administrative aspects have room for improvement.
Read More: Who Was Iris Azulai? How Did She Die?