Israeli Panel to Debate Bill Banning 'Insulting' Baby Names

The bill's sponsors say their proposal 'would ensure the conduct of a professional examination to prevent the giving of a damaging name.'

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is to consider a bill today that would add to the grounds on which the interior minister could refuse to register a baby's name, as well as appointing a committee of experts that parents, as well as the minister, could consult on the issue.

The so-called Public Names Committee would include an educator, a psychologist and a social worker. The panel would advise the interior minister in the event that a Population Registry clerk is concerned about the name parents have selected for their newborn; in that case, the parents could also consult the committee.

Babies - Ancho Gosh - July 12 2011
Ancho Gosh

The bill's sponsors, MKs Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) and Miri Regev (Likud), say their proposal "would insure the conduct of a professional examination to prevent the giving of a damaging name.

"Giving a hurtful and insulting name to a minor, or names of curses or negative figures, could make him an object of mockery in the eyes of his peers and damage his self-image and self-confidence," Orlev and Regev explain.

Current law authorizes the interior minister to bar the registration of a name if he believes "it could mislead or offend the public." The draft law would add as a reason for disqualification the belief that the name would injure the child to whom it is given.

Sweden, Norway, Portugal and Peru are among the countries that have laws restricting the names that parents can give their children.