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The most popular name for Israeli babies in 2008 was Noam, which was given to 1,970 boys and 515 girls, data released yesterday by the Central Bureau of Statistics revealed. According to the data, the most popular girl's name that year was Noa.

Altogether, there were 2,453,140 Israelis under the age of 17 at the end of 2008, constituting one third of the country's population, the bureau said. Over the course of that year, 156,900 babies were born in Israel.

The most popular names for Jewish Israeli boys, after Noam, were Itai, Daniel, David, Idan, Moshe, Yosef and Yonatan. The most popular names for girls, after Noa, were Shira, Yael, Tamar, Maya, Talia, Hila, Michal and Adi. In twelfth place came the name Lian, and in fifteenth, Noya.

Names deriving from that of the prophet Mohammed were the most popular for Muslim Israeli boys in 2008, the report said. The name Hala was the most common for Muslim girls, followed by Noor and Maryam.

The names Noam, Amit, Ariel, Daniel and Adi were popular for both boys and girls.