Shaham, married to Lilach and father of 2-year-old Michal, served in the IDF for 10 years, and among other roles, was a company commander and a deputy battalion commander in the Negev Brigade. His sister served as an operations officer and his brother served as a fighter in an elite unit.
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During his military service, Shaham completed his studies at Ben Gurion University in Mathematics (BA) and Engineering and Business (MA). Following his discharge, he worked for several hi-tech companies, and last year was accepted to a Statistics doctoral program at Yale University and moved to the United States together with his family.
He spent the last two months in Israel and took the time to go through a battalion commander course, alongside active duty and reserve officers from all ground corps.
A week and half before the end of the course, at the end of a battalion drill, Shaham was called in for a meeting with the course commander, where a pleasant surprise awaited him: Ahead of his return to Yale on Monday, it was decided to end his course ahead of time with a private and modest ceremony, in the presence of his family and friends.
"A few hours after the end of the exercise, I was informed that the course commander wishes to speak with me. I thought he wanted to talk to me about my studies and I was surprised to find my family and friends," Shaham said.
"In three years, I will finish my studies, and of course I will come back and serve as part of the reserve forces. Friends in the US raised an eye or two when they heard of what I intend on doing during my summer vacation, but it was my dream. I tell everyone that reserve service is the real service."
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