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100 most popular names in Israeli history

Central Bureau of Statistics unveils data on most popular baby names, with David being most favorable name for Jewish boys, and Noa most common for girls; among country's sizeable Arab minority, Mohammad has topped the charts.

Countless iconic names have graced the history of the State of Israel, many of them drawing inspiration from the Bible and Jewish tradition alongside more modern ones, coined by creative Israeli parents. But which names are most common?

According to new data published by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the most popular names given to Jewish boys since the inception of the state in 1948 is David, whereas Noa tops the chart for Jewish girls.

The most common given name, in general, is Mohammed, with 115,356 Israel baby boys, mostly from the country's sizeable Arab minority, being named that between 1948 and 2021.

In comparison, 66,415 Israeli children were named David since the country's founding and it has remained among the most common given names for Jewish boys throughout the country's 74 years in existence. The name has gained popularity in recent years as 887 children were given this name at the turn of the millennium compared with 1,662 in 2021.

Coming in second is Moshe, with 62,813 children carrying that name since 1948, 1,062 of them were born in 2021 alone. The third place goes to Yosef, with 61,850 Israelis given the name since Israel’s founding, 1,209 were born in 2021 alone.

Other popular boy names include Avraham, Yaakov, Yitzhak, Daniel, Ori, Noam and Itai.

In 1948, eight boys were named Noam while in 2021, that number has shot up to 1,147 boys. Itai is another name that gained ground over the years, going from just five newborns being called that in 1948 to 753 in 2021.

The 11th spot is occupied by Haim, followed by Israel, Shlomo, Yehuda, Shmuel, Ariel, Shimon, Jonathan, Guy and Meir.

Further down on the list are names that are considered more modern like Roie, Amit, Omer, Tomer, Or, Idan, Matan, Shahar, Elad, Maor, Oren, Yaniv, Ofir, Gal, Aviv, Levi, Dor, Eran, Ronen, Yaron, Ilay, Ofek, Liam, Ziv, Dvir, Bar, Dror and Ohad.

Some names fell out of vogue through the years while others remained all the go.

For example, in 1948, the most common given name for Jewish boys was Moshe, followed by Avraham, Yosef, Yaakov, Yitzhak, David, Haim, Shlomo, Shmuel, Israel, Aryeh and Yehuda.

In 1968, Moshe retained its title as the most common given name for Jewish boys, followed by familiar entries such as Yosef, Avraham, Yitzhak, David and Yaakov. Coming in seventh and eighth place are Ronen and Ilan, becoming the first modern Israeli names to break into the top ten.

Twenty years later, in 1988, Moshe still held the top spot, followed by David, Yosef, Avraham, Idan, Yaakov, Roie, Israel, Or, Yitzhak, Daniel and Guy. Moshe lost its position to Daniel in 1998, followed by Yuval, David, Yosef, Yaakov, Amit, Omer, Roie, Tomer, Or, Israel, Itai and Matan.

In 2021, the most common name for Jewish boys was David, followed by Ariel, Levi, Yosef, Ori, Rafael, Noam, Moshe, Yehuda, Eitan, Avraham and Daniel.

The name Yair ranks 25th, and 136 boys were given that name in 1963, including Israel's interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid. The name Benjamin lands at 46th, with 151 boys given the name since 1949, including former prime minister and current opposition leader - Benjamin Netanyahu.

As for girl names, six candidates have held the number one spot until Noa, which exploded in popularity in recent years, swooped in and took the lead, thanks in part to the rise of pop star Noa Kirel.

In total, 47,398 girls were named Noa since 1948. For comparison, just seven girls were given that name in the year of Israel’s founding, compared with 2,005 in 2009.

Coming in second is Rachel, with 46,301 girls given than name since 1948. Rachel is followed by Yael, with 45,059 girls given that name, and Sarah with 45,059. Sarah was the most common name in Israel in 1948.

Since Israel’s founding, 44,945 girls have been named Michal, and 44,657 - Esther. The two names are followed by Tamar, Hannah, Miriam, Maya, Rivka, Adi, Chaya, Hila, Ruth, Talia, Ayala, Efrat, Ronnie and Leah.

Names that are considered more modern landed lower on the 100 list and include: Maayan, Hodaya, Shani, Tal, Yuval, Eden, Hadar, Keren, Dana, Noya, Chen, Neta, Adel, Liat, Lia, Amit, Orli, Romi, Agam, Sharon, Meital, Shahar, Moria, Lior and Sapir.

According to data, Iris was the most common name in 1968, followed by Michal, Rachel, Yael, Anat, Ronit, Orli, Esther, Galit, Sigalit and Tamar.

In 1988, Adi grabbed top stop, followed by Shani, Shiran, Maayan, Rachel, Chen, Mor, Ortal, Hila, Michal, Yael, Natali, Ruth and Moran. In 1998, the most common name for a Jewish girl was Eden, followed by Yuval, Noa, Adi, Sarah, Shir, Shira, Michal, Yael, Tal, Hodaya, Esther, Amit, Rachel, Tamar and Maya.

In 2021, Tamar came in first, followed by Maya, Abigail, Ayala, Noa, Sarah, Yael, Adel, Esther, Hannah, Ela, Rivka, Shira, Libbi, Rachel, Haya and Leah.

Ayelet has landed at 122nd place, with 6,825 girls named that since 1948. In 1976, when Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked was born, 255 girls were given that name.

Yifat takes the 140th place. In 1973, When Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton was born, 297 girls were names that. In 2021, less than five girls were named Yifat.

The most common name among Israeli Muslims, and in Israel as a whole, is Mohammad. Between the years 1948-2021, 115,356 Israelis were given the name. In 1948, the name was given to 158 Israelis, and in 2021 the number reached 2,441.

The second most common name among Muslims in Israel is Ahmad, followed by Mahmoud, Abed, Yusef, Ali, Ibrahim, Omar, Amir, Khaled, Hassan and Mustafa.

Among Muslim girls the most common names are Fatma, Miriam, Malak, Aya, Nur, Yasmin, Amal, Iman, Hala, Lian, Amna and Janah.

The most common names among Christians in Israel are Elias, Joseph, George, Fadi and Amir for boys, and Maria, Amal, Miriam, Merry, Reem and Maya for girls.

Among Israeli Druze, the most common name is Suliman, followed by Amir, Adam, Yosef, Salah, Shadi, Eyal, Kamel, Anan, Rian, and Daniel for boys.

The most common name for girls since 1948 has been Nur, followed by Malak, Yasmin, Amal, Aya, Abir, Sarah, Lian, Hennah, Lin, Hala and Nasrin.

Yaron Druckman