Friday, October 1, 2021
From The New York Times:
The fate of Eitan Biran, whose parents were killed at an Italian mountain resort in May, has become an international cause pitting relatives in Israel against those in Italy.
The debate over the fate of the boy, now 6, the sole survivor of the May cable-car accident, has escalated into an international custody battle that has drawn world attention, with echoes of Solomonic justice, relatives in Italy and Israel each claiming to be looking out for Eitan’s best interests, and civil and criminal cases winding through the courts in both countries.
Eitan and his family, who were from Israel, had been living in the Lombardy town of Travacò Siccomario since late 2015, while his father, Amit Biran, was studying medicine. On a sunny Sunday afternoon in May, the family took a cable-car excursion up the nearly 5,000-foot peak of picturesque Mottarone mountain, overlooking Lake Maggiore. The cause of the crash, which killed 14 people, is still under investigation. Three days later, an Italian court in Turin appointed his paternal aunt, Ms. Biran, as his legal guardian, a ruling challenged by the boy’s maternal relatives in Israel.
But this month, the boy’s maternal grandfather, Mr. Peleg, spirited Eitan out of the country, to Israel via Switzerland, on a private plane. Mr. Peleg is now under investigation in Italy for possible kidnapping and could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.
[Ms. Biran] has called on the Tel Aviv court to apply The Hague Convention on abducted minors and immediately return Eitan to Italy.
Dov I. Frimer, an expert in child custody and a longtime professor on the Law Faculty of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said that the primary question before the Tel Aviv Court of Family Matters is to determine Eitan Biran’s “habitual residence” at the time of his parents’ death, not his future well-being.
Read more here.