“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1 (The Israel Bible™)
The most popular baby name in Israel in 2014 was Mohammad, according to a report released on Sunday by the Central Bureau of Statistics. 2,650 newborns received the name.
The most popular Jewish boy’s name, and the second most popular name overall, was Noam, with 1,600 boys and 400 girls being given the unisex moniker. The top ten list of boys’ names rounded out with Ori, David, Yosef, Eitan, Itay, Ariel, Daniel, Yonaton, and Moshe filling in the next 9 spots.
For girls, the most popular name overall, given to 1,478 babies, was Noa, which has maintained its top spot on the list for the past 15 years. Following in the top ten list of girls’ names were Tamar, Shira, Maya, Yael, Adele, Talia, Avigail, Ayala and Sarah.
While most of Israel’s most popular baby names are derived from the Bible, a few, like Adele, which has become popular only recently, are more modern.
The report also included a breakdown of the most popular names per city. In Jerusalem, which has a large religious population, the most popular girl’s name was Sarah, whereas in Tel Aviv and Haifa, which are more secular, Maya took top spot.
In Bnei Barak, an ultra-Orthodox city, the most popular name was Esther, while in Netanya, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Beersheba, Adele was the most popular.
As for baby names in the Muslim population, the report found that one in every five Muslim boys is named Mohammed or Ahmed. The remaining names in the top ten list for Muslim baby boys were Yosef, Omar, Abed, Adam, Ali, Ibrahim, Mahmoud, Amir, and Haled.
Among Muslim girls, the most popular baby name was Miriam, followed by Jana, Lian, Malak, Aline, Lyn, and Nur.
Last year, a similar report by the Population Authority did not include names of Muslim babies.
The report also made note of the name Ovadiah. In 2013, the year in which the renowned Jewish leader Rabbi Ovadiya Yosef died, 117 baby boys were named in his honor. In 2014, the number rose to 209.
It also pointed to a rise in the popularity of the name Eitan. In 2014, Eitan rose from tenth to seventh place on the top ten list among Jewish boys, likely because of 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, which in Hebrew is known as “Tsuk Eitan”. The rise, says the report, occurred during the months of the Gaza war.