Top 20 Israeli Baby Names for Boys, 2010

Reader Devo's baby at ten weeks

Yesterday I posted the most popular girls’ names in 2010 from the Central Bureau of Statistics. Today the boys take a turn.

I’ve decided to label them by their prominence in the haredi (H), secular (S), or national religious communities (NR). It’s no surprise that many of the more popular names work in more than one circle–that’s how they got to the top of the list.

You’ll find all of the names labeled as only Haredi (H) in national religious circles as well, but they aren’t trendy there. Feel free to disagree with my evaluations in the comments.

Yonatan and Yehonatan really count as the same name so it counts as the most popular.

Compared to the top ten list in 2006, Itamar is the only new name with Moshe dropping to number 12.

Pictured is reader Devo’s son Elchanan, at age ten weeks.


Israel Baby Names for Boys, 2010

Key: H: haredi, ultra-Orthodox. NR: national religious/modern Orthodox. S: Secular.

  1. Noam (all) pleasantness
  2. Itai (S, NR) biblical, vintner
  3. Ori or Uri (S, NR) my light
  4. Yehonatan (all) biblical, God has given
  5. Daniel (all) biblical, God is my judge
  6. David (all) biblical, beloved
  7. Ariel (S, NR), Lion of God
  8. Ido (S, NR) biblical
  9. Yosef (H) biblical, God will add
  10. Itamar (S, NR) biblical,
  11. Yair (S, NR) biblical, he will light
  12. Moshe (H) biblical, one who draws (Moses)
  13. Yonatan (all) biblical, God has given
  14. Amit (S, NR) colleague, friend
  15. Avraham (H) biblical, father of many nations
  16. Nehorai (NR) mishnaic, light
  17. Guy (S, NR) valley
  18. Yisrael (H) Israel
  19. Eitan (S, NR) strong
  20. Yehuda (NR, H) biblical

Which is your favorite? Are your kids’ names on one of the two lists? We batted zero out of six.

You may also enjoy:

Israeli Baby Name Queries December 2012

Top 20 Israeli Baby Girls’ Names, 2010

Popular Israeli Names for Girls

Popular Israeli Names for Boys

Help This Reader Choose a Hebrew Baby Name (November 2009)

More Popular Israeli Baby Names (April 2010)

Help Readers Choose an Israeli Baby Name (June 2010)

Israeli Baby Name Help Needed (November 2010)

Needed: Israeli Baby Girl Name Suggestions (September 2010)

Posts on Breastfeeding

Posts on Parenting

Childrearing Norms in Israel

Staying Home and Staying Sane


  1. We have a Moshe, also a David, though I see that is no longer popular. Oh well. I really do like Yonatan. 🙂

  2. I think every one stopped naming their kids David because every one in the parents/grandparents generation is named David. For example, my brother in law and my first cousin are both David as are a good number of my friends.

    • Ms. Krieger says

      Miriami’s comment makes me laugh!
      My mother’s brother is named David. Her youngest sister married a man named David. She also has a cousin named David. My sister’s boyfriend is named David. My ex-boyfriend is named David, and my husband’s middle name is David. And we had a beloved pet iguana for almost 20 years named, you guessed it, David. (made for interesting conversations. “Did David just poop on the couch?” Hehehe…)

  3. i think that i like the most popular boy names better than the more popular girl names. the baby in this post is so adorable by the way.

  4. We’re 0 for 3 also, although it’s only surprising for Nadav. The only Ariellas I know are olim or middle-aged Israelis. It’s considered an old-fashioned name. And of course, despite Jacob being on every top ten list in America, Yaakov is definitely not trendy. Very old-mannish. The upside is that neither of them have to have “R” attached to them. 🙂

    When Donny was testing names when I was pregnant, “Nadav” was THE #1 tested name. Guess we’re ahead of the trend. I am surprised “Matan” isn’t up there.

  5. Guy sounds just great to my American ears. I haven’t encountered any Nehorais, but I know two little girls named Nehora.

  6. loved seeing these lists!

    im surprised some form of yitzhak didnt make it! i feel like every israeli i know is itsik!!

    i’ve also never met a Nehorai.

    • Itzik may be a generational thing–there are 3-4 gan dads (out of 35) named Yitzchak/Itzik (so it was popular in the ’70s?)

  7. Itai is number 2? Ugh… That gives us both a #3 (girls) and a #2 (boys). So much for “Israeli but not overly trendy”. I will say that neither were that high up when we picked them!

  8. We have a Moshe (or rather, my husband does). Moshe himself has an Aharon and a Gavriel, neither of which made the list.

    We have three sons/boyfriends-in-law that made it, however, Itai, Ariel and Ido.

  9. I rechecked the Hebrew list, it’s David, not Dor!

  10. Our daughter’s name is on the list (although she has yet to share it with anyone in her grade–so far there seems to be 1 per grade). Son’s name is not on the list–I actually don’t love any of the boys names on this list–although we call him by a nickname (for his middle name) that I’ve since pegged as a very Anglo “shem chiba.” The Israelis always look confused the first time he gives his name.

  11. Interesting – the baby girls list well reflected the 2010 baby girls I know in Modiin and elsewhere in Israel, but the baby boy list did not so much reflect the 2010 baby boys I know. I’ve never met a Nehorai (is it a settler name?) and I think there is not a single Noam in my son’s entire Maon (70 kids total). I only know two Noams of any age in Modiin, and one of them is a girl! 2010 Baby boys around here have been named Amitai, Re’em, Shahar (my baby), Harel (secular neighbor’s baby), Nadav…

  12. David (S, NR) biblical – 🙂 S? Did you mean H? David (pronounced as Dovid or Doovid) is up there with the names of the avos and the names of the rabbonim and rebbeim as far as names in the haredi world are concerned.

  13. I have two nieces on this list: Noam and Amit. 🙂

  14. having begun my journey as a saba this year , names have taken on a new significance. I have noticed a lot of creative , innovative naming of kids together with kids -at least amongst Askenazim – not naming kids after deceased parents or grandparents. Young couples don’t have the sensitivity to this issue. One of the most important guestures I did for my dad was naming my son after his father. I really understood this when my own daughter named her son after my father – an amazing feeling.

    how about a post on strange names – A boy I know got engaged to a ‘ nachala te’mima ‘ – ‘ hoo nu’ful ul nachala te’mima

    • As a young person who just had a child (he’s five months old today), I’m rather offended by your characterization. We did name after someone, but it was actually very hard, luckily. We had to go back to my great-grandparents to find someone. I happen to think that that was a good problem to have. Now that people are living longer, it could just be that there aren’t as many people who need to be named after.

    • Our kids are named after family members using only initials or translations (secular name of great-grandparent approximately translated into Hebrew)…I felt (and feel) very strongly about letting a new person start with a name that is not burdened with remembrances and/or expectations–positive or negative. As they’ve grown, they are truly growing into their names, which are not repeated anywhere else in the family.

  15. Yonatan and Yochanan together would be so cool for twins… they sound good together

  16. Jacqueline,
    Sharing an observation in general terms imho is not being offensive, for sure not my intention. My understanding – that the younger generation lack a sensitivity to naming after someone – a generalization – is from conversations with friends. Imho the other explanations – as you say -people living longer or big families so the deceased has already had his name given to a new born does not discount my hypothesis. One can either agree or disagree with me .

  17. Daniel and David is a good Biblical name its some what cute and very good for baby boy.

  18. I know it’s not on the list, but what is the “Israeli” version of : Nathanael/Nathan/Natan/Netanel like these days (spelling/preference or popularity?)? Same for Gabriel/Gavriel– anything stick out as belonging to a more religious/nonreligious or certain ‘group’?
    We want an Israeli name since both of us were born in Israel, but were raised mostly abroad and have family everywhere from US to Israel to Germany.
    And I’ll post this under the girl’s names as well (we don’t know what we’re having yet!)– but, how about Eden? (not pronounced the “american” way, “eee”-din, but the Israeli way “eh”-den), or Naomi (Nomi?) — any connections that seem more sephardic/ashkenazi/religious?

    • I just heard of a girl named Netanel. 🙂 I think most Gavriels and Netanels are Orthodox. Eden is popular for both boys and girls. I don’t think Naomi is overly popular but doesn’t sound dated either, in my opinion. My teen DD agrees.

      • Thanks for the feedback! One more for you- how about Amiel? Ammiel? (Ami?)
        Unique in a good way or old-fashioned/religious? etc?
        Thanks again!

        • The only person I knew with that name would be at least 60 now. But I don’t think of it as old-fashioned. Teen DD: I like the sound.

          • haha- thanks. We’re trying to find a non-top-20 name that is not too old fashioned, but still sounds unique and connection to Israel/Bible… hopefully we’ll have enough good choices once we meet the baby in January :), boy OR girl!

  19. I just saw this post and your post on popular girls’ names (thank goodness it’s still…November!), and found it very interesting, as I just had another grandchild, ken yirbu. My older son seems to have a propensity for Biblical names (his wife allows him to get ‘the message from Hashem’ to name the baby!); his oldest (all of 18 months) is named Naomi, and her new little sister is Yael.
    My younger son has two, a 3-year old boy, Gavriel (nowhere on your list), and Taliah, age two.
    I named my kids with middle names, but my Israeli adult kids didn’t follow that minhag. Oh well.

  20. love these posts, so much to say but will just respond to:

    “how about a post on strange names – A boy I know got engaged to a ‘ nachala te’mima ‘”

    i won’t comment on what’s a strange name and what isn’t, but i will say that i like when people with more than one name have names that are not just randomly strung together but rather have some meaning as a larger phrase. both of my kids have 2 names, and in each cases the 2 names can be understood as a larger phrasal unit (and in my son’s case cause the string causes a slight change–imperceptible to non-ashkenazim–in the nikkud)

  21. Natasha Hale says

    Any thoughts/information on the name Malkam? I like it, but have only heard it once and I wanted to be sure it is 1)actually Hebrew/Israeli and 2) does not have a negative connotation. So far nothing.

  22. I’m surprised that Yishai is not on the list, is it still popular?
    Also is Yehuda popular among NR circles or is it really more of a charedi name?

    • Hi Shira, Yishai is not particularly popular despite a spate of popular names ending in that syllable in the last ten years or so.

      • I think Yehuda is also popular in NR circles (I know several) – but the parents would mak sure to pronounce it YehuDA – with the emphasis on the “da”. A charedi Yehuda might be called YeHUda or Yuda/ Yudi.

  23. Two name anecdotes:

    I heard a man calling to his kids on the street: “Ilai! Hillel! Lili!” I thought, man, that must get confusing. And to American readers: those names sound even more similar with an Israeli accent.

    Also, fun noticing at my kids’ end of the year gan celebration (NR gan), their classmates:
    I feel like I’m forgetting one.

  24. If you were to name your son Israel, how would you spell it? ‘Israel’ or ‘Yisrael’?

  25. We were hoping for a girl and were planning on honoring my Savta. I am at a loss since baby will be a boy. Can anything be done with Ruth or Gisela. Her maiden and married surnames were Dresel and Bavaria. Her mother’s maiden name was Cohnheim

    • Sorry that should have read Nahari. Not Bavaria

    • Gisela derives from a pledge/to owe/an obligation, as per A World of Baby Names. Can you think of something related to that? I am struggling, honestly.
      Alternately, people who don’t know that might think that it’s related to ‘gazelle,’ or Ayal.

  26. I have a daughter Eliana so Elishiva would probably not work. I’ll run Atalanta past husband. He did not like Ruoel. (sp?) Meaning friend like Ruth.

  27. My spell check has a mind of its own. Ayal is what I’d run past husband.

  28. What do you all think of the name Matanel? For a boy. I don’t need a super trendy name, but I also don’t want a very old-fashioned name. We live in Israel.


  29. Elan. Popular, unusual…?

  30. Need Help with name for boy named after saba shmuel ( we dont like shmuel or Samuel) would like something Hebrew that is somewhat easily pronouncable in English too.

  31. My oldest is Ilan Yehonatan. I spelled it in Spanish, my first language, but in English it’s spelled Elan. My husband wanted Yehonatan as his first name, and I vetoed it. I agreed to it as a 2nd name because I knew he loved the name so much, he would fight to use it on another son. Better to get it out of the way because, of course, our second is a boy, Amit (14th on the list). Amit in Sanskrit means “infinite” . I was so happy with the name when we lived in the US. Then we moved to Israel and since it is used for boys and girls, I hear Amit *everywhere*. I still love the name, but it drives me crazy. We’ll see how many Amits will be in gan with him when he starts next year.

  32. Kika, funny on the names. We had considered Amit since in Hebrew it means friend, like Ruth did, my deceased Savta. We will end up chosing Elan though. Elan is Native American for friendly and my other grandmother is part Native American. Of course Elan also has Hebrew roots.