Cable car disaster victims
Cable car disaster victims Reuters

Eitan Biran, the 5-year-old Israeli who lost his parents, great-grandparents, and brother in a cable car disaster in Italy, is now the subject of a heated disagreement regarding his guardianship.

Biran's relatives in Israel on Wednesday morning held a press conference on the subject of the legal battle with his aunt in Italy, blaming her for holding him hostage.

Attorney Ronen Dlayahu, who is representing Gali and Ron, who wish to adopt Eitan, said: "Three months ago, the Peleg family experienced a horrific tragedy. Eitan was transferred to the care of his aunt, Aya. Since then, he has been prevented from having a stable and consistent connection. He is being held as a hostage: They have taken control of his body, his mind, and his soul, exactly like that, in order to keep him in Italy."

"Things were done there which should not have been done. Gali and Ron are asking to end this horrific tragedy which Eitan has experienced, and to provide him with a warm and stable home. That is absolutely in the minor's best interests. The couple was staying there on a temporary basis, in order to return to Israel in the end. Eitan's right is that he should have a home where his parents wanted him to grow up; as a Jew in a Jewish school, and not in a Catholic school in Italy. He has a right to have his privacy and money protected following the horrific accident, he has a right to live with his extended family."

He added: "Eitan's natural place is in Israel. Every moment that he is not here is time lost."

Gali is the sister of Eitan's mother Tal. Speaking at the press conference, she said: "We put our lives on hold for one purpose: Eitan. Eitan was kidnapped by family which was not close to him in any way. We don't intend to disappear. We cannot be hidden. We will be here forever! In another few years, he will investigate who his parents were and it's important to me that he see that we are here forever. He lost one family - he does not need to lose another."

"We have not seen a neutral party who will examine Eitan from a mental or health perspective. He is just a child. He doesn't need laws, he needs family who are here and taking care of him." She added that form her perspective, "Aya can take Eitan's money, and it will be used for his needs when he reaches the age of 18."

Ron Perry, Gali's husband, said: "We have an Israeli child who is two hours' flight time away from us. He is in a country where his parents did not wish for him to live, certainly not in the way he is supposed to be educated."

"He is being held, captive, prisoner. He's not enjoying himself, he's not going anywhere fun. We want to continue his parents' path. We have the love. We don't need the money. It's unthinkable that a child will be left with a mother who never knew him. She doesn't have a single photo with the child from before the disaster.... This is a family that is...alienating the child completely."

"Our goal is to carry out Eitan's parents will... that's it."

"Aya (the father's sister) is making false claims," attorney Dlayahu said, adding, "We have begun the process of adoption."