Naftali Bennett
Naftali BennettAvi Ohayon/GPO

Ben Rhodes, a top adviser to former US President Barack Obama, praised Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, saying he may be a nationalist but he is “at least a straightforward” leader compared to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Rhodes, who served as US deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, made the comments in an interview with Channel 12 News anchor Yonit Levi and Jonathan Freedland of The Guardian on the Unholy Podcast.

He acknowledged that the new Israeli government to “doesn’t embrace the policies I would recommend on certain issues”, but added, “Just having an Israeli Prime Minister or a Foreign Minister wanting to come to the US and engage US officials for a purpose other than humiliating them or picking a public fight to help their politics back home."

“I can’t tell you how corrosive that was. Every interaction we had with Netanyahu through the last few years [of the Obama administration], he would use it…to pick a fight, just for the sake of picking a fight back home,” he asserted.

Rhodes said he prefers a leader like Bennett, who is more “candid” and open about his views.

“This was part of my frustration as we got deeper into the Obama years. It was evident to me that Netanyahu’s stated openness or commitment to a Palestinian state was obviously not what he believed,” he stated.

“If it is Bennett over time, I would much prefer a politician of the right who is at least straightforward and laying it out on the table so we can talk about it,” said Rhodes.