Eitan Biran, Lone Survivor of Italian Cable Car Crash, Is Subject of Custody Battle



The prosecutor did not respond to requests for comment, and Mr. Peleg could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mr. Simbari, the aunt’s lawyer, said Eitan had lived in Italy since he was a year old and had both Italian and Israeli citizenship. The boy’s mother tongue was Italian, he said, though he also spoke Hebrew.

“We are very worried because this child was torn away from a familiar environment, so it’s a second trauma after the one he experienced in May,” Mr. Simbari said.

Ms. Biran, the aunt, told reporters on Sunday that Mr. Peleg had picked up Eitan on Saturday morning for an agreed-upon visit to go shopping for toys. After the boy did not return home, she said she began to call Mr. Peleg, who did not answer. On Saturday evening, she told reporters, she received a text message from the grandfather which read: “Eitan has returned home.”

The court ruling this summer had also ordered Mr. Peleg to return Eitan’s Israeli passport, which he did not do. “I can assume that with the passport, the grandfather was able to elude controls at the borders and bring the boy back to Israel,” Mr. Simbari said.

Lawyers for Mr. Peleg — the father of Eitan’s mother, Tal Peleg — rejected the claims of kidnapping, saying in a statement that the boy “was never deprived of his personal freedom.” They contended that Mr. Peleg did not break a court order, because he had never been formally notified that the child could not leave the country.

“Eitan’s state of health worries the maternal family, which has always been kept in the dark by doctors and courts that have hindered the participation of the maternal family,” the lawyers said in a statement. “For these reasons, his grandfather decided to submit him to the necessary medical checks in Israel.”


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