Mr. Netanyahu, several experts said, wants to talk to Mr. Trump about how best to confront Iran. But the administration’s policy toward Iran is still taking shape, making it less fruitful for the Israeli leader to come to Washington for a face-to-face meeting with the president.
In his video appearance — after joking that he skipped the conference to avoid standing in long lines at the door — Mr. Netanyahu made much of the “exceptional” warmth that Mr. Trump had shown him. That, he said, had translated into friendlier policies toward Israel.
“You see it in the budget request,” the prime minister said. “It leaves military aid to Israel fully funded, even as the fiscal belt gets pulled tighter — and we appreciate that.”
But Mr. Netanyahu avoided any reference to settlements, which Mr. Trump unexpectedly raised as an issue before their first meeting last month. Arguing that the rapid growth of settlements was an obstacle to a peace accord, Mr. Trump urged Mr. Netanyahu to slow it down.
The White House, officials said, is trying to negotiate an understanding with Mr. Netanyahu that would do that, but would avoid explicit geographic or numeric targets, at least publicly. Mr. Netanyahu could not accept such terms, officials said, without alienating the right-wing partners in his coalition or even toppling his government.
Aipac, as it customarily does, invited both the president and the prime minister to address the meeting. Mr. Netanyahu has appeared in person several times, but has also spoken via video. Mr. Obama likewise appeared periodically, but more often sent surrogates like Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
For the organizers, Mr. Trump’s decision not to attend probably counted as a relief. He spoke last year as a Republican candidate and stirred a tempest by describing Mr. Obama as “maybe the worst thing to happen to Israel.” The next day, Aipac’s president, Lillian Pinkus, tearfully apologized, saying Mr. Trump had violated the group’s bipartisan tradition.
“We have said, in every way we can think of, ‘Come together,’ ” she said. “But last evening, something occurred which has the potential to drive us apart, to divide us. We say, unequivocally, that we do not countenance ad hominem attacks, and we take great offense to those that are levied against the president of the United States of America from our stage.”
Aides to Mr. Trump were furious at the apology, according to a person told about the dispute, and warned Aipac officials that he would remember it. Still, there was little sign that the White House was snubbing Aipac. In addition to sending the vice president, the White House also sent Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, who has become a favorite in pro-Israel ranks for her staunch defense of the country.
Marshall Wittmann, a spokesman for Aipac, said the group was satisfied with the turnout. “We have been very pleased to have as speakers representing President Trump’s administration both Vice President Pence and Ambassador Haley, as well as the entire bipartisan leadership of Congress,” he said.
For his part, Mr. Pence generally avoided a partisan tone in his remarks, though at one point he did say that “for the first time in a long time, America has a president who will stand with our allies and stand up to our enemies.”
The vice president also played to the right wing among American Jews. “After decades of simply talking about it,” Mr. Pence said, “the president of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
Even Mr. Netanyahu is not actively pushing the administration to move the embassy to Jerusalem, which is claimed as a capital by both Israel and the Palestinians, out of fears that it could provoke violence. After promising to move it during the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump’s administration has put that issue on the back burner.
For Aipac, the ascension of Mr. Trump is a mixed blessing. His close alliance with Mr. Netanyahu and his hard line on Iran will resonate with the group’s rank and file, after years of tension caused by Mr. Obama’s clashes with Mr. Netanyahu over the Iran nuclear deal and settlements.
On the other hand, the Trump administration reinforces what some longtime observers of the group say is a structural problem for Aipac: an erosion of support among Democrats and a perception that backing Israel has become predominantly a Republican preoccupation.
“The real mission of Aipac today is to get back the Democrats,” said Steven J. Rosen, a former senior official of the group, who was forced out in 2005 after being caught up in the leak of classified government documents. The case was eventually dropped.
“In that context, Trump becomes a bit of a problem,” Mr. Rosen said. “If you believe the Democrats are going to win in 2020, this could be a sugarcoated poison pill.”