Eitan Biran
Eitan Biran Courtesy of the family

For a month before Eitan Biran was taken to Israel, the Pavia District police in Italy were following his meetings with his grandfather Shmuel Peleg, Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper reported Wednesday.

The surveillance was carried out at the request of the Prosecutor's Office, which opened an investigation following a report by the judge made at the end of a heated discussion which ended in declaring Aya Biran, Eitan's paternal aunt, as his legal guardian. The law allowed the grandfather to meet his grandson only for predetermined periods of time.

Peleg brought Eitan, 6, to Israel earlier this week, without obtaining the consent of his family in Italy, and on Tuesday was interrogated by Israel Police on suspicion of kidnapping. Eitan's paternal aunt, Aya Biran, who lives in Italy, has served as his guardian since his parents' deaths in a cable car accident in May. On Tuesday Aya filed a request with the Tel Aviv Family Court for Eitan to be returned to Italy.

Peleg's former wife, Esther (Etty) Cohen, Eitan's grandmother, has also been interrogated on suspicion of kidnapping him together with her former husband. In the interrogation, she screamed and blamed Aya, Eitan's aunt, saying among other things that she is "embarrassed to be a Jew."

Afterwards, she requested to spend more time with her grandson than was allotted to her, claiming that Eitan was more connected to his mother Tal's family than to his father Amit's family. She also said that the limitations placed on them harmed the relationship with her grandson and cut it "like a knife cuts fresh meat."

A Pavia police investigator said that there had never been a concern that Peleg was planning to kidnap his grandson and bring him to Israel. According to the investigator, sometimes Peleg would bring Eitan back home at late hours, but this past Saturday Aya only waited about 30 minutes before calling the police around 7:00p.m., after Peleg did not appear as agreed at 6:30p.m. By then, Eitan and his grandfather had already landed in Tel Aviv, after flying in a private plane from Switzerland.