Golda Meir, on the eve of an attack on Israel by a coalition of Arab states in what is known as the Yom Kippur War.

Saying he was shaken by the scale of the threat to Israel, Mr. Biden has called that “one of the most consequential meetings I’ve ever had in my life.”

In the years since, Mr. Biden has repeatedly underscored his devotion to the country. “I am a Zionist,” he told an Israeli television station in 2007. “You don’t have to a Jew to be a Zionist.”

Michael Oren, who served as Israel’s ambassador to Washington from 2009 to 2013, said that in an Obama administration where many senior officials mistrusted Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud government and shut out Mr. Oren, Mr. Biden served as his main interlocutor.

“He exhibited, I thought, great insight into the personality of Benjamin Netanyahu,” Mr. Oren said. He said Mr. Biden saw that tensions between President Barack Obama and Mr. Netanyahu made for “a very flammable environment that he did his best to ease down.”

Israeli-Palestinian conflict with dim prospects of resolution at a time when he has been focused on other foreign policy priorities, including climate change, countering China and restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“I think the Biden administration was caught a bit off-guard here,” said Sanam Vakil, the deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa program at the London-based think tank Chatham House. “It has taken them a few days to mobilize and find their footing.”

On Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters aboard Air Force One that Mr. Biden “has been doing this long enough to know that the best way to end an international conflict is typically not to debate it in public.”

“Sometimes diplomacy needs to happen behind the scenes — it needs to be quiet, and we don’t read out every component,” she said.

Hady Amr.

expectation and hope” that the conflict was nearing an end. More than 100 innocents have been killed in the fighting since then.

Asked why Mr. Biden has not publicly called for a cease-fire, as have dozens of congressional Democrats, a senior administration official said that doing so could be counterproductive and prolong the violence. Some analysts agree that such calls may inspire defiance among Mr. Netanyahu, his political allies and the Israeli public.

Mr. Oren said that he believed that Mr. Biden’s publicly supportive posture toward Israel, which has drawn an increasing number of complaints from congressional Democrats, is motivated in part by indirect negotiations with Iran this month in Vienna that are aimed at restoring the nuclear deal with Tehran, another of Mr. Biden’s top priorities.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the aftermath of this conflict, the Biden administration would say to the Israeli government: ‘You see how we supported your right to defend yourself against Hamas? Trust us to ensure your defense as we renew the Iran nuclear deal,’” Mr. Oren said.

criminal charges, and he has struggled to form a governing coalition that would prevent him from the likelihood of losing power for the first time since 2009.

Lara Jakes contributed reporting.

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