Compiled by the UNGEGN Working Group on Romanization Systems
Version 2.2, January 2003


The United Nations recommended system was approved in 1977 (resolution III/13), based on the official system (1957) proposed by the Academy for the Hebrew Language and used by the Survey of Israel. The table was published as an annex to the resolution (Third United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. Athens, 17 August - 7 September 1977. Vol. I. Report of the Conference, pp. 29-30, 32-33.). The 1977 resolution was the elaboration of an earlier resolution (II/9) adopted in 1972.

The system is used in Israel and in most international cartographic products. In recent years there have been discussions in Israel on whether to modify the official romanization system but no decision has yet been taken (An overview is given by N. Kadmon in Considerations for and against the revision of a romanization system – the case of Hebrew. Seventh United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. New York, 13-22 January 1998. Document E/CONF.91/L.11.).

Hebrew is written from right to left. The correct romanization of the Hebrew script presumes the presence of fully pointed text, i.e. where all vowels are marked. These marks are usually omitted in everyday writing though a method of denoting vowels with certain consonant characters (ketív malé) is gaining ground also in the rendering of geographical names. The romanization is not fully reversible, e.g. t denotes two different consonant characters and vowels (e.g. o) can have more than one way of writing in the Hebrew script.


In the romanization table below five consonants have a special final form which is shown in addition to the main character after a comma. Superscript numbers refer to the notes at the end.

1 א ’, (-)2,9
2 בּ b
3 ב v
4 ג (גּ)4 g
5 ד (דּ)4 d
6 ה h7
7 ו w
8 ז z
9 ח
10 ט t
11 י y
12 כּ, ךּ k
13 כ, ך ךְ kh
14 ל l
15 מ, ם m
16 נ, ן n
17 ס s
18 ע 8,9
19 פּ p
20 פ, ף f
21 צ, ץ
22 ק q
23 ר r
24 שׁ sh
25 שׂ s
26 ת (תּ)4 t

Vowels (א stands for any consonant character)

1 אַ a
2 אֲ a
3 אָ a, o
4 אֶ e
5 אֱ e
6 אֵ e, é5
7 אֵי e
8 אְ e6
9 אִ i
10 אִי i
11 אֳ o
12 אֹ o
13 וֹ o
14 אֻ u
15 וּ u