Schmulik Peleg is an Israeli grandfather, who came to the public's attention when his daughter and son-in-law died in a tragic accident, in Piedmont, Italy. His grandson, Eitan Biran, was the sole survivor of the accident where the other fourteen passengers in cable car all died. Schmulik challenged the ruling of an Italian court, that awarded custody of Eitan to his son-in-law's sister, Aya Biran, who, like Eitan and his parents, was a resident of Italy. When his challenge seemed likely to be rejected, he flouted an Italian court order, and seized the boy, flew him to Israel, and sought custody in an Israeli court.
The disaster happened on May 5, 2021. He kidnapped the boy on early September, 2021. Upon his return Schmulik was placed under house arrest. The Times of Israel quoted Peleg defending his siezure of Eitan. He claimed a 2003 guilty plea he negotiated, for domestic violence, should not be considered as disqualifying him for custody of the boy.
The Israeli court convened on September 25, 2021, to settle the custody issue, and, on October 25, 2021, ordered Peleg to turn him over to his aunt Aya. Peleg was ordered to pay Aya's legal costs.
Peleg is a veteran of the Israeli Defence Force.
- Elisabetta Povoledo; Jonathan Shamir (2021-09-13). "Lone Survivor of Italian Cable Car Crash Is Subject of Custody Battle". The New York Times (Rome, Italy). Archived from the original on 2021-10-26. https://web.archive.org/web/20211026101742/https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/13/world/europe/italy-israel-custody-cable-car.html. Retrieved 2021-10-31. "The aunt filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office, and on Monday, Mr. Peleg was placed under investigation for kidnapping, Mr. Sevesi said, confirming Italian media reports."
- "Tragedia Mottarone, zia Eitan presenta istanza a Tel Aviv. Il nonno ai domiciliari in Israele" (in Italian). La Presse. 2021-09-14. Archived from the original on 2021-10-08. https://web.archive.org/web/20211008112007/https://www.lapresse.it/esteri/2021/09/14/mottarone-zio-eitan-detenuto/. Retrieved 2021-10-31. "E’ agli arresti domiciliari, in Israele, Schmulik Peleg, il nonno di Eitan Biran, l’unico sopravvissuto a un incidente in funivia in Italia a maggio, per le accuse di aver rapito Eitan e portato in Israele."
- "Israeli relatives of boy who survived cable car tragedy ask for privacy". The Independent (Ireland). 2021-09-23. Archived from the original on 2021-09-24. https://web.archive.org/web/20210924072420/https://www.independent.ie/world-news/israeli-relatives-of-boy-who-survived-cable-car-tragedy-ask-for-privacy-40880621.html. Retrieved 2021-11-01. "Peleg was questioned by Israeli police on kidnapping suspicions and placed under house arrest pending an ongoing investigation."
- "Grandfather defends taking child survivor of Italy cable car crash to Israel". Times of Israel. 2021-09-21. Archived from the original on 2021-09-19. https://web.archive.org/web/20210919124417/https://www.timesofisrael.com/grandfather-defends-taking-child-survivor-of-italy-cable-car-crash-to-israel/. Retrieved 2021-10-31. "Peleg was also questioned on his past conviction for domestic violence — in 2003, he entered a guilty plea for four counts of violence against his wife and was sentenced to 15 months probation and a fine. Peleg said the conviction did not have “the smallest or most basic connection to Eitan” and pointed to the fact that he was given joint custody of his children in his divorce settlement a number of years after the conviction."