Top baby names in Israel: Noam, Noa

Flag of Israel
Flag of Israel

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the most popular baby names in Israel over the last decade were Noam (for boys) and Noa (for girls).

Other popular baby names were Itai, Uri, Yehonatan, Daniel, David, Ariel and Eden (for boys) and Shira, Maya, Tamar, Talia, Noia and Adi (for girls).

Nathan Jeffay of pop culture blog The Shmooze (part of The Jewish Daily Forward) notes that unisex baby names are all the rage in Israel:

“Can you see Rotem?” [my four-year-old] asks during morning drop-off at kindergarten. I look at each of the girls, believing I’ve already met her and risking his wrath because I have forgotten what she looks like, but no, this Rotem — though it’s a traditional girls’ name — is a boy. A couple of days later, a woman chats to me at the kindergarten gate. “I’m Natanel’s mom,” she says, positive that I know Natanel (the Hebrew form of Nathaniel). The name rings a bell, so out of politeness I say I know how much my son enjoys playing with him. Cover blown: Natanel is a she.

Jeffay also says parents are aiming “for a similar sound with boys’ and girls’ names. That is, a two-syllable format with a modern feel that has a vague Biblical sound without sounding traditional.”

Sources: Most Common Names for Babies in Israel: Noam, Noa, Gender-Bending Baby Names Take Off in Israel

Image: Adapted from Flag of Israel (public domain)

4 thoughts on “Top baby names in Israel: Noam, Noa

  1. Interesting! I think Rotem works really nicely on a boy, and would have assumed it was a masculine name on-sight. I’d probably have guessed boy for Natanel, too, just because of its similarity to Nathaniel. However, I see why it would appeal to someone naming a girl — it’s reminiscent of Natalie and the “-el” ending can read as feminine easily. Of the other names mentioned, I like Tamar and Noia.

  2. I’m male and my name is Ariel. I pronounce it as ARE-EE-UL, my parents pronounce it as ARE-YELL but some people pronounce it as AIR-REE-UL. I actually don’t care about how my name is pronounced, I love all pronunciations. Sometimes I see AIR-EE-UL as a bit of an alter-ego for me. So it’s awesome how I can have this sort of ambiguity.

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