President Joe Biden appeared to forget his Arab–Israeli history, confusing the 1967 Six-Day War with the Yom Kippur War of 1973 during a White House menorah lighting celebration for Hanukkah.

"I have known every prime minister well since Golda Meir, including Golda Meir," Biden told East Room guests this week. "And during the Six-Day War, I had an opportunity to — she invited me to come over because I was going to be the liaison between she and the Egyptians about the Suez, and so on and so forth."


Political writers and commentators were quick to pick up on the kink in Biden's career timeline.

Biden was only 25 and in his second year of law school during the Six-Day War. He had not yet launched his political career at that time.

The president this week recalled his 1973 meeting with then-Israeli Prime Minister Meir during his first trip to Israel as a 30-year-old senator from Delaware. It is an encounter he has shared before when referencing the correct conflict, which broke out 40 days after this visit, on Oct. 6.

"She was taking pictures and the press," Biden told the crowd. "She looked straight ahead, but, talking to me, she said, 'Why,' she said, 'Why do you look so sad?' And I said, and I almost turned, and I said, 'Well, Madam Prime Minister,' I said, 'You’ve painted such a dismal picture.'"

"She said, 'Oh, no, no, no.' She said, 'Don’t worry. We have a secret weapon in our battle in this area.' And I almost turned again. I said, 'What's that?' She said, 'We have no place else to go,'" Biden added.

Israel's Channel 13 reported last year on the existence of a leaked classified senior Israeli official memo regarding the meeting, detailing how Biden told Meir that Israel's Six-Day War capture of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was akin to “creeping annexation.” The official also claimed Biden had proposed that Israel, as the dominant military force, initiate peace by withdrawing from areas without strategic importance. The source, too, wrote down his observations of Biden.


Biden repeated that he had met with Meir to learn, “and yet, while speaking, displayed a fervor and made comments that signaled his lack of diplomatic experience," the official said.