Dov Yudkovsky
Dov Yudkovsky. Photo by Alon Ron
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Journalist, editor and Israel Prize laureate Dov Yudkovsky died yesterday after a prolonged illness. He was 87. Yudkovsky, seen as the father of modern Israeli journalism, served in various roles at Yedioth Ahronoth for 46 years, 40 of them as acting editor and editor-in-chief.

He also served for two years as editor-in-chief of Yedioth's archrival, Maariv. Funeral services will be held at 3:45 P.M. today at Tel Aviv's Kiryat Shaul Cemetery.

Yudkovsky was born in Warsaw in 1923, but his family moved to Belgium when he was a year old. He was a forced laborer in Nazi concentration camps in Poland during World War II, and was sent to Buchenwald in a death march.

After the war, he came to Mandatory Palestine, studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and joining Yedioth's Jerusalem office under his cousin, publisher Yehuda Mozes.

In February 1948, a large group of journalists and editors defected from Yedioth, setting up Maariv. Yudkovsky stayed loyal to Yedioth and the Mozes family, rising through the ranks. After Yehuda Mozes died in 1956, Yudkovsky was appointed acting editor alongside Yehuda's son Noah Mozes, father of current publisher Arnon "Noni" Mozes.

This began what became known as the Yudkovsky formula for popular journalism, an approach still key to Yedioth's success. Yudkovsky described the concept in an interview with Haaretz in 2008. "If there ever was a formula, it was that of a paper the minister won't be ashamed to read and the minister's driver won't be intimidated by," he said.

"I demanded that journalists write in short, vivid sentences. Writing well doesn't mean writing condescendingly or complicatedly. On the contrary: A good newspaper, like good literature, should attract both the eye and the heart.

After Noah Mozes was killed in a bus accident in 1986, Yudkovsky was appointed editor-in-chief. He held that office for three years, but retired after relentless feuds with Noni Mozes.

After his retirement, he joined Adam Baruch and Robert Maxwell, who published Maariv at the time, and edited the tabloid for two years. In 1990 he set up journalism school Koteret, and in 2002 received the Israel Prize for his contribution to media and journalism.

In July, Yudkovsky donated NIS 1.5 million to the Tel Aviv Journalists' Association to set up a media center that would bear his name. He is survived by his wife Leah, daughter Eti Lieber and two grandchildren.