International Battle Over 6-Year-Old Cable-Car Survivor Goes to Court

“I lost my faith in the Italian system,” he said, explaining why he brought Eitan to Israel. He had been frustrated, he said, that he could not communicate directly with the judges, and had no say in Eitan’s care.

Eitan is doing well in Israel, he said.

“Now that he is here, he’s sleeping near me, and he touches my hand, you know, all the night. He’s not releasing it,” Mr. Peleg said. “He’s so happy,”

Roberta Sacchi, a Rome-based psychologist who is frequently a consultant in custody cases, said that when both parents have died, the paramount consideration for a court is to “ensure that the quality of life that the child had before the event remains as stable as possible.”

A move can be traumatizing for a child, and “the tendency is to not remove a child from a known routine,” she said, adding that the court should consider whether and where the child went to school, or had strong ties to a relative.

In Eitan’s case, which she did not consult on, the judge in Turin who granted custody to Ms. Biran “respected this principle,” she said, because the child had gone to school in Italy, and had lived there.

Ms. Biran said that her family and Eitan’s lived near each other, and Eitan and Emilia, one of Ms. Biran’s daughters, attended preschool together. He was set to start elementary school with his cousin in Italy last week.

But none of that may be at issue for the Israeli court.

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