Marion Fischel
July 23, Updated July 24

In February 2025, the film “Captain America: New World Order” is set to be released in cinemas worldwide starring Israeli actress Shira Haas as the latest in Marvel’s long line of superheroes.

Initially, the 29-year-old actor was supposed to be an Israeli superhero called Sabra, but the studio caved in to anti-Israel protests and turned the character into a former Black Widow, a Soviet-Russian spy program.

Whether Haas in Captain America has an Israeli background or not, she is definitely a rising star in the world of acting, gaining international fame for her roles in productions including the Israeli TV series Shtisel, in the Netflix miniseries Unorthodox, and 2023’s Netflix science fiction series, Bodies.

Here are 14 fascinating facts about this fast-rising star.

1. Haas is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors from Eastern Europe. During World War II, one of her grandfathers was interned at Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi concentration camp. Haas has a very close relationship with her 86-year-old grandmother.

14 things you didn’t know about Shira Haas
Israeli actress Shira Haas is nominated for an Emmy Award for her role as the lead actress in hit show ‘Unorthodox.’ Photo by Flash90

2. Haas’s professional career began at age 14, when she earned herself two theatrical roles at the Cameri, Tel Aviv’s prime theater. She appeared in Shakespeare’s Richard III as well as in Joshua Sonbol’s Ghetto, while still attending the Thelma Yellin Arts High School in Givatayim, east of Tel Aviv.

3. In 2014, Haas received a surprise Facebook message from Israeli casting director Esther Kling, urging her to audition for the lead role in the Israeli film Princess. Haas took the advice, and her acting won her Best Actress at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Princess also got her noticed in the US by The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter.

4. Haas’s first international movie, in 2015, A Tale of Love and Darkness, was also a director’s premiere for Israeli American actress Natalie Portman. Haas told Ynet that she found Portman to be a role model, “impressive and humble and real.”

5. In 2017, Haas auditioned and was hired over Skype for her role in the American-made The Zookeeper’s Wife. Ahead of the film’s release, she appeared on The Today Show, another first for her.

6. She made the Israeli Forbes list of 30 under 30 in February 2019.

7. In order to make sure that her Yiddish was perfect for the dialogue in Unorthodox, Haas arrived in Berlin two months before the shooting to take language classes. She also took piano and singing lessons to prepare for her role in the series.

8. In 2020, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and a Primetime Emmy Award for the role of Esty in the Netflix miniseries Unorthodox. She made history by becoming the first Israeli actor nominated for a primetime acting Emmy.

For the Israeli film, Asia, in 2020, she won Best International Actress at the Tribeca Film Festival Award, and in Israel received the coveted Ophir for Best Supporting Actress.

9. Haas and her parents are all sabras, meaning native-born Israelis. These are compared to the cactus fruit sabra, (“tzabar” in Hebrew), which is prickly on the outside yet soft on the inside, as Israelis are reputed to be.

10. Haas, the youngest of three siblings, was born in 1995 in Tel Aviv, where she currently lives with her husband. The family moved to Hod HaSharon when she was a year old.

11. Haas was diagnosed with kidney cancer at the age of two. Within three years, treatment had saved her life but stunted her growth.

14 things you didn’t know about Shira Haas
Shira Haas photo via Facebook (

12. Despite having gotten a medical exemption from military service for the above reason, Haas enlisted voluntarily in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Military Band and theater unit.

13. Haas always thanks her parents publicly for their encouragement and support in enabling her to become the best artist she can be.

14. While the Sabra character was first introduced in Marvel comics 40 years ago, the corporation says it is now taking a new approach to the character with Haas.

Even before the Gaza war broke out on October 7 when Hamas invaded Israel, there were already anti-Israel elements complaining about Marvel’s decision to create an Israeli super hero. It’s a shame the studio caved in, but we’re sure Haas will rise to the challenge and create a memorable character.

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