Senior Labor Party officials have become increasingly critical of new party leader Amir Peretz for excluding them from party decisions and possibilities of cabinet positions. “I denounce the atmosphere that has been created - as if everyone who is currently serving in the Knesset will be replaced by new people,” said Knesset (parliament) Member Danny Yatom. Yatom is not on Peretz’s proposed list of ministers. Several senior members, including long time Labor member Shimon Peres, have left the party, some to join Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s new party or others, like Peres, for a promised post should Sharon win re-election. Former Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, running for head of the Likud party, joined in the chorus criticizing Peretz. He called Peretz the world champion of strikes and said that, thanks to Peretz, Israel is a world champion in strikes. “The monopolies, pensions, and high taxes brought us close to bankruptcy before I entered my role (as finance minister),” said Netanyahu.