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Muhammad, Israel’s most popular baby name, omitted from official list

Arab names ignored in Population and Immigration Authority yearly statement, despite significant share in population

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of newborns (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of newborns (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Muhammad, not Yosef, topped the list of most popular name for newborn boys in Israel over the past year, in contrast with a statement issued by the Population and Immigration Authority on Sunday.

In the statement, released ahead of the Jewish New Year, the authority claimed Israeli boys were most commonly named Yosef, Daniel, Uri, Itai, Omer, Adam, Noam, Ariel, Eitan, David — despite the fact that several Arab names were statistically more popular than the ones on the list.

Nowhere in the statement was it noted that the list did not include Arabic baby names. Haaretz reported that aside from Muhammad, the name Ahmed was also omitted from the list, and should have placed ninth in terms of popularity.

The authority’s list for popular girls names, however, did include the Arabic names Leanne and Miriam, though both are common among Jewish newborns as well.

A spokeswoman for the Population and Immigration Authority told Haaretz that the list reflected the media’s interest in popular Hebrew names, and said the authority had no intention of skewing the facts.

According to the Authority, some 176,230 babies were born this year in Israel — 90,646 boys and 85,584 girls, and the population of the State of Israel stands at 8,904,373, including a population of over 6 million Jews.

In addition, 75,848 Israelis got married since last Rosh Hashanah and 23,419 got divorced, according to the figures.

Marissa Newman contributed to this report.

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