Grandad defends taking boy from cable car crash to Israel

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The grandfather of a 6-year-old boy who survived a cable car accident in Italy that killed his immediate family and is now the target of a bitter custody battle on Friday defended his decision to take the child to Israel.

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Eaton Byrne’s parents and younger siblings were among 14 people killed in May when a cable car hit a hill in northern Italy. He is now the focal point of a custody battle between his maternal grandparents in Israel and his paternal relatives in Italy.

Israeli police questioned his maternal grandfather Shamulik Peleg on suspicion of kidnapping and placed him under house arrest amid the ongoing investigation. Biran’s paternal relatives say he was taken away without his knowledge and has filed a legal complaint seeking his return to Italy.


In an interview with Israel’s Channel 12, Peleg, 58, said Biran was “happy, surrounded by members of his family.”

“He is in the place he should be, in his home, in Israel,” he said.

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He admitted that the baby was taken from Italy to Switzerland before being taken back to Israel, “We went through a completely legal way.” He insisted that his “ideas are devoted only to the good of the child, to the good of Eaton.”

Eaton and his parents were living in Italy at the time of the accident, and following his release from a Turin hospital after weeks of treatment, Italian juvenile court officials ruled that the child would stay with an aunt near Pavia in northern Italy. .

The Italian daily Corriere della Sera said that Peleg took Eaton in a hired car to Lugano, Switzerland, where he boarded a chartered flight to Tel Aviv. Why not take a regular flight?

Italian authorities also opened an investigation this week. The boy’s aunt, Aya Biran, filed a formal request with the Italian court system demanding Eaton’s return to Italy. He also told police that Peleg had failed to return Eaton to his home as agreed last Saturday.

Eaton’s relatives in Israel refuse to kidnap her and insist they are acting in her best interest.

Peleg told Channel 12 that he had given up contesting in custody in the Italian court system and said he hoped the boy would understand him as he grew up.

“I believe that one day Eaton will grow up and Grandpa will say, You did everything for me, you saved me,” he said tearfully. “And my daughter, who will one day find me in heaven, will be proud of me that I saved her son.”


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