The sole survivor of the Stresa-Mottarone cable car crash is set to remain in Israel until a court in Tel Aviv makes a decision regarding his custody.
Eitan Biran, aged 6, survived the accident in the Italian region of Piedmont on 23rd May that killed 14 people including his parents, brother and two great-grandparents.
After he was discharged from hospital in the city of Turin, the Italian authorities ruled that he was to live with his paternal aunt, Israeli-born doctor Aya Biran-Nirko, close to the city of Pavia.
In their decision, the authorities cited the fact that he had been living with his immediate family in Italy prior to the accident taking place.
However, he was subsequently taken to Israel by his maternal grandfather, Shmulik Peleg, with Biran-Nirko accusing him of abduction.
The ongoing legal battle involves not only Biran-Nirko and Peleg but also Biran’s Israel-based maternal aunt, Gali Peleg, who is also seeking custody of the youngster.
In the latest hearing, the court in Tel Aviv decided that Biran was to remain in Israel during proceedings and he would be looked after by both sides of his family during that time.
Biran-Nirko has travelled to Israel for the court case, and both she and Peleg will care for the boy alternately during the weeks-long process.
Peleg had denied abducting his grandson, claiming that he drove him to Switzerland and then boarded a flight with him to Israel “in a totally legal way”.
However, the Israeli authorities subsequently placed him under house arrest and he was questioned by the police on suspicion of kidnapping.
The Italian authorities also opened their own investigation into the actions of Peleg, who has a criminal record for domestic violence.
Biran-Nirko hopes the fact that her nephew’s mother tongue is Italian and that his medical and psychological rehabilitation took place in Italy will help her case.
However, the boy’s maternal relatives hope the fact that the family was planning on returning to Israel will convince the court not to order the boy’s return to Italy.
The legal battle continues.