Shalom was born in Gabès, Tunisia on 4 August 1958 to a family that traced its roots to the Sephardic Beit Shalom dynasty. His family made aliyah to the city of Beersheba, in Israel's Negev in 1959. On 3 November 1964, while Shalom was six years old, his father, Shimon Shalom, a bank manager and a member of the Betar movement, was killed during the course of a bungled bank robbery. The murder was notoriously known as the first committed in a bank robbery in the history of the young state of Israel. At the age of 18, he was inducted into the Israel Defense Forces and achieved the rank of Sergeant.
After completing his service in the IDF, Shalom attended Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, from which he received a BA in Economics as well as a CPA. Certification. During that time, Shalom was elected as the chairman of the university's students' union and later as the vice chairman of the national students union. He later attended Tel Aviv University, from which he received an LLB law degree as well as an MA in Public Policy. Shalom started as a journalist. While working on his first degree, he began to work as a journalist at the Yediot Aharonot newspaper in the student section. After that he started working in the "Rosh Berosh" magazine and in the Negev's local newspaper. In 1980 he moved to Tel Aviv and started working at the now-defunct Hadashot newspaper. In 1984, he was appointed as its head political and economical correspondent.
In 1992, at the age of 34, Shalom was elected as a Knesset member. He was elected on the 34th spot in the Likud list to the Knesset and the party received only 33 seats in the 13th Knesset. After former security minister Moshe Arens resigned, Shalom succeeded in becoming an MK. As a young MK, his first bill was in the academic field. In 1992 there was room for only 100,000 students, with no space for any more students. Shalom acted to allow all the students to get accepted when the reduction of the students would be made at the end of the first year. Due to his bill, awareness has been made to the problem and the Israeli colleges were established. In the year 2010, for the first time, more students started their degree in colleges. Shalom, during his first term was the first male MK to be a member of the committee on the status of women. He was also the chairman of the subcommittee regarding the capital market, chairman of the subcommittee of energy and a member of the economic affairs committee. In 1996, a year after the assassination of P.M. Yitzhak Rabin from the labor party, the Likud, headed by the opposition leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, was united with 2 parties: Gesher and Tzomet and ran in the election against the Labor party, headed by acting P.M. Shimon Peres. The Likud received 32 seats, 2 fewer than the labor party, but due to the direct election of the P.M. at the time of the election, Netanyahu won and became P.M.
Shalom, who won the 18th spot in the combined list of the three parties, became deputy to the defense minister, Itzhak Morderchai. One of his biggest achievements was allowing Hareidi Jews to serve in the army, a step that they had been avoiding in doing for decades. The Hareidi battalion, "Netzach Yehuda", was established on February 1999.
After a rotation with MK Michael Eitan, Shalom, on July 13, 1998, became minister of science. During his year old term in office, he created the "science flowers" project, which helped universities get to the Israeli periphery and helped under privileged students to excel. Another main project Shalom was involved in, was in spreading the internet in Israel and enlarging the internet's bandwidth and as a result of it, its surfing speed.
In the 1999 election, the Likud party, headed by the widely unpopular prime minister at the time, Benjamin Netanyahu, was running against the Labor party, headed by Ehud Barak. The labor party won 26 seats in the Knesset, while the Likud party received only 19 seats and lost the election. After the Labor party gained power in 1999 and the resignation of Benjamin Netanyahu, Shalom who reached the 1st place, became part of the opposition, lead by Ariel Sharon.
After challenging Netanyahu for party leadership in late 2005 and achieving second place, Shalom was granted the second spot on the Likud list to the 2006 general election and thus did not compete in the 11 January 2006 primaries. He was placed seventh on the party's list for the 2009 elections.