Cheney, daughter of former US Vice President Richard Cheney, opened the conference with a verbal attack against the Obama administration and noted the cold reception the president gave the prime minister during his last Washington visit.
"President Obama is playing a reckless game of continuing down the path of diminishing America's ties to Israel," she said deeming the world safer when there is "no daylight" between the two countries.
Netanyahu decided to cancel his Washington trip after learning that several Muslim nations were planning to raise the fact that Israel is a not a member of the Non Proliferation Treaty during the conference.
"In the last 24 hours we received reports about the intention of various states that will be present at the Washington conference to go beyond the issue of preventing nuclear terror," a senior source in Jerusalem said.
Minister for Intelligence Affairs Dan Meridor will be representing Israel at the conference instead of Netanyahu along with an expert team.
The American Politico website described Netanyahu's decision as "an embarrassing distraction on the eve of a high-profile meeting the White House has sought to carefully choreograph."
The website noted that several analysts were skeptical about the official Israeli explanation and estimated that the issue was actually related to the steps Israel is being required to take in order to promote proximity talks with the Palestinians.