Mitzna said he supports confirming the appointment of MK Ehud Olmert (Likud) as Finance Minister but insisted, "There is no justification to increase the [size of the] Cabinet because of political considerations." Vice Premier Shimon Peres also said he would vote against the appointments, and Israel government Radio reported that the Prime Minister Ariel Sharon Sharon does not have a majority on the issue.



He wants to appoint Roni Bar-On and Deputy Minister Ze'ev Boim as ministers. Both of them voted for the expulsion of Jewish residents from their homes in the Gaza and northern Samaria regions and for turning over the areas to the Palestinian Authority (PA) after Jewish homes and community buildings were destroyed and synagogues were abandoned.



The Prime Minister also wants to promote Labor MK Matan Vilnai to a ministerial position.



MK Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, who served as Finance Minister until his resignation shortly before the start of the expulsions, charged, "This is a typical example of the buying of votes and the continuation of the corrupting of politics in Israel."



Netanyahu said he will boycott Sunday's meeting of Likud Knesset members with Prime Minister Sharon, who said Thursday that his opponents should "grow up." He accused Netanyahu of trying to break up the Likud party and said opponents of the expulsion should stop trying to use it as a tool against the coalition.



Netanyahu and anti-expulsion leader Uzi Landau narrowly lost a bid last month to move up the Likud primaries from March to November. Both of them are contenders to replace Sharon as party leader.



Several Likud MKs, including Landau and others who call themselves loyalists for adhering to the Likud platform against dismantling Jewish communities, have said they will vote against the appointments.



The Prime Minister said he will try to have the Knesset vote on all three appointments as a package, a tactic which would make it more difficult for opponents to win the vote. Likud loyalists have said they do not oppose the appointment of Olmert, who has been temporary Finance Minister since Netanyahu resigned.



The government faced additional pressure Saturday night after Communications Minister Dalia Itzik (Labor) demanded that her camp assume Olmert's former position as Minister for Industry and Trade, which includes responsibility for the Israel Broadcasting Authority.



"The Knesset session apparently will be stormy and we have a feeling we are not participants," charged Itzik.