September 13, 2021
After the tragedy that upset his life, little Eitan is now at the center of a twisted story, which involves family dynamics with indefinite contours. The little boy (6 years old) is the only survivor of the Mottarone tragedy, where on 23 May the fall of a cable car cabin killed 14 of the 15 people inside. Among the victims also Eitan’s parents, little brother and great-grandparents. In the months following the drama, a dispute took place between the maternal and paternal branches of the family for the custody of the child, who last Saturday was removed from the house of his maternal aunt (to whom he had been legally entrusted) and hurriedly transferred to Israel from his paternal grandfather. By virtue of this sudden action, the Pavia Public Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation for kidnapping. And now the Jewish community wonders in dismay how it is possible that the authorities allowed a 6-year-old child to embark on this journey without a proxy. Let’s rewind the tape: in the hours following the collapse of the cable car, the young man was admitted to the Regina Margherita hospital in Turin; once discharged he was entrusted to his paternal aunt, Aya Biran-Nirko, a 41-year-old doctor living in Travacò Siccomario (Pavia).
ROUTINE – To break this routine was Shmuel Peleg, Eitan’s maternal grandfather who, after visiting last Saturday (as part of an agreed visit), never brought him back. That evening the boy arrived in Israel with his grandfather: an operation made possible by the fact that Peleg was in possession of his passport. According to the testimony of the Birans, the tutelary judge had asked for the return of the Eitan document for August 30 but the Pelegs would have refused to respect the delivery: so the grandfather was able to embark Eitan on a private flight. A dynamic that does not convince Milo Hasbani, president of the Milanese Jewish community, who wonders “how the authorities managed to let a 6-year-old child out with a passport, alone and without a proxy”. The fact that a private flight was used would not be a sufficient explanation, “considering that even flights with private planes have very specific rules”. The Milanese Jewish community also received a “strong condemnation of this very serious act, which violates Italian and international laws”. What worries the paternal branch of the family is the fact that Eitan would have been “torn from the psychological and therapeutic treatments to which he was subjected”, with the risk of new traumas. The aunt who had him in custody also stated that Peleg “was convicted of mistreating his ex-wife, the maternal grandmother”, also asking the question of the mental and physical state of the maternal aunt. The reply was not long in coming; to speak was Gali Peleg, maternal aunt: “We did not kidnap Eitan, we took him home as his parents wanted”.
FAMILY BRANCHES – According to them, the little one would have much more relations with them than with the other branch of the family: «She (Aya Biran, editor’s note) has no photos with him». According to the testimony of the Pelegs, once Eitan disembarked, he “screamed with excitement when he saw us. He – added the maternal aunt, you have parents buried in Israel, he is with a family he knows; we have acted for his good ». Apparently, one of the motives could be precisely the fear, on the part of the maternal branch, that living in Italy Eitan could lose his Jewish identity. Yesterday evening Cristina Pagni, a civilian who follows the Biran family, does not rule out a contribution from the secret services: “The hypothesis hovers but we are not sure that the grandfather was part of it”. Pending developments, Aya Biran’s disconsolate comment remains: «Eitan is an Italian citizen, he arrived in Italy when he was one year old, his home is in Pavia where he grew up. His entire life path was in Pavia. We are waiting for him at home and we are very worried about his health ».