Cable Car Accident Survivors' Grandfather Questioned on Suspected Abduction

Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit
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The crashed cable-car in Northern Italy
The crashed cable-car in Northern ItalyCredit: Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico P
Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit

Israel Police questioned on Tuesday the maternal grandfather of the 6-year-old who survived a cable car accident in Italy this summer, Shmuel Peleg, in the Tel Aviv central unit on suspicion of kidnapping a minor under 16. Peleg was later released under restrictions.

In addition, Aya Biran, the paternal aunt of Eitan Biran, whose parents and brother were killed in the accident, filled a lawsuit in the Tel Aviv Family Court on Tuesday to have the boy returned to Italy, based on The Hague Convention on Child Abductions.

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Earlier this week, Eitan’s mother’s family said that Eitan had been returned to Israel “as his parents wanted,” and that he was being treated at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer “in light of his complex and sensitive condition, which cannot be detailed.” However, the father’s family, who lives in Italy, say that the child was abducted to Israel. The Italian newspaper La Republica reported that the police in the city of Pavia have opened an investigation against Peleg on suspicion of aggravated kidnapping.

Eitan was the only survivor when the cable car he was riding with his two-year-old brother Tom and parents Amit Biran and Tal Peleg-Biran, an Israeli couple studying and working in Italy, plunged to the ground.

Also killed were Tal’s grandparents Barbara and Itzhak Cohen, who were visiting Italy at the time. All told, 14 people were killed in the crash. Since the accident, Eitan has been living with his aunt in Pavia. 

The principle behind The Hague Convention in question, to which Israel is a signatory, is that children should be returned as quickly as possible to their natural place of residence, from which they were illegally taken. Another principle is maintenance of international enforcement of custody rights between countries that are signatories to the convention.

The purpose is to ensure that custody of abducted children be determined only by a court in the child’s permanent place of residence. Thus, the court in the country to which a child is abducted must see to his or her return as soon as possible.

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