The well-known Channel 2 news reporter Tatiana Hoffman died on Monday evening of a heart attack. She was 69.
Hoffman, whose focus was mainly on international affairs, immigrated to Israel from Prague at the age of 21, and was instantly memorable for her distinctive Czech accent and upbeat delivery. She had been with Channel 2 since its inception in 1993 and served as a senior editor and reporter for the Channel 2 international affairs desk.
“It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of our friend,” Channel 2 said Tuesday morning, describing Hoffman as “one of the most beloved and esteemed figures” of the station. Hoffman will be remembered as a journalist with a great sense of humor, the TV station said, who shared her wisdom with her colleagues and knew how to keep calm, even during tumultuous times.
Hoffman began her career in 1964 at the official state radio station in Prague, where she hosted a satirical segment about internal affairs in the country, which, at the time, was under communist rule. In 1968, Hoffman won a prize from an Israeli journalists association and was invited to Israel for the ceremony, Hebrew media reported on Monday night.
While she was away, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia, and Hoffman decided to remain in Israel. She earned a degree in political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and was hired by Israel Radio.
Hoffman later lived in Germany for 12 years, where she completed an MA in political science. She came back to Israel and journalism with the establishment of Channel 2.
“I apparently have a very distinctive type of voice which is very easily recognizable,” Hoffman said in a Channel 2 feature about her in 2009. “It’s not Russian and it’s not Anglo-Saxon and it’s not Hungarian. It’s undefined.”
Because she was not a native Hebrew speaker, Hoffman said, she tried to be meticulous about her pronunciation and her grammar. “People say they understand me better than the sabras (native-born Israelis) who swallow their words and don’t enunciate,” she said.
In that interview, she expressed how happy she was to still be working in TV news, despite the fact that she didn’t meet the typical criteria. “I’m older, I’m a woman, I’m an immigrant, I have curly hair, I wear glasses and I’m still here.”
Hoffman is survived by her mother, her three children, Guy, Talia and Dani, and her partner, the artist and photographer, Aryeh Azan.