Israeli grandmother gives birth to 18th baby

A Jerusalem woman has given birth to her 18th child, a baby boy who is already an uncle twice over.

Rivkah, who has two grandchildren older than her new son, is part of the strictly Orthodox Chasidic community, where large families are not unusual.

But at only 44 years old, Rivkah – who cannot even count a set of twins or triplets among her brood – has gone a step further than many.

And her nine sons and nine daughters also have a large extended family; their mother has 15 siblings.

Rivka told Ynet that she had not made a conscious decision to have such a large family, but that she could not manage without the help of two washing machines, which work non-stop.

She said: “When my mother was raising us, being a mother involved a lot more physical work than it does today. She had to [wash] and scrub all the [nappies] by hand".

She said her house was always messy and noisy, but that her husband also helped lighten the load by making the children sandwiches every morning.

“Each one gets his or her favourite,” she said. “It takes him almost an hour.”

The new mother said she was delighted with her large family, but pointed out that there were some difficulties caused by the high number.

She said: “A car isn't enough for our family – we need a train."

Last updated: 12:05pm, February 11 2011