Israeli Court Upholds Ruling to Return Kidnapped Boy to Italy Within 15 Days

Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit
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Shmuel Peleg, maternal grandfather of Eitan Biran, leaves court in Tel Aviv, last month.
Shmuel Peleg, maternal grandfather of Eitan Biran, leaves court in Tel Aviv, in September.Credit: Sebastian Scheiner/AP
Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit

A Tel Aviv court denied on Thursday an appeal by an Israeli man who kidnapped his grandson, upholding a previous court order that the child must be returned to his home in Italy.

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Two weeks ago, the Tel Aviv District Court ruled that six-year-old Eitan Biran must be returned to his aunt in Italy. 

The boy's paternal aunt, Aya Biran Nirko, had filed a civil custody suit following Biran's abduction by his maternal grandfather, Shmuel Peleg.

The ruling requires Peleg to return Biran to Italy within 15 days, however he has a week to appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court.

The Peleg family said that they regretted the court's decision that had sent the family to fight for Eitan Peleg's custody in Italy. 

"Eitan is an Israeli Jewish child. His parents would have wanted him to grow up and be educated in Israel. Unfortunately, Eitan's voice and will were neglected by the courtroom."

On Wednesday, Italian authorities issued an international arrest warrant for Peleg for flying Biran to Israel on a private jet during a court-ordered visit.

Biran was the only survivor when the cable car he was riding with his 2-year-old brother Tom and parents Amit Biran and Tal Peleg-Biran, an Israeli couple studying and working in Italy, plunged to the ground at a popular tourist site in late May.

The Biran family's lawyers said that they are content with the court's ruling and they hoped that this was "the last step before Eitan was returned to his family and home in Italy."

Also killed were Tal’s grandparents Barbara and Itzhak Cohen, who were visiting Italy at the time.

In total, 14 people lost their lives in the accident, which investigators later blamed on negligence by the gondola’s operators.