Zoabi started her career teaching mathematics and was then appointed as a school inspector for the Ministry of Education.
She embarked on her political career with the ‘Balad Party’ when she became a member in 2001. Balad is one of the few Arab-centric political parties competing in Israeli elections.
In 2003, she helped establish ‘I'lam’, a non-government organization that calls itself the ‘Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel’. She was soon promoted to general director of the organization.
She ran for parliament, in 2006. Unfortunately, her Balad party did not receive enough votes to be awarded any seats in the parliament
In 2009, Zoabi resigned as the general director of I'lam. In the same year, she successfully ran for parliament. Her election win was symbolic as she became the first female member of Arab descent in the history of Israeli Parliament.
After her election, she received national attention when she described the prime minister and several other key leaders in Israel as ‘a bunch of fascists’.
In March 2009, she attracted more national attention after telling the press that she was not concerned that neighboring Iran would produce nuclear weapons. Israel's official position on the matter is completely opposed to Zoabi's.
On May 31, 2010, she participated in the 'Gaza flotilla'. When a ship approached Israeli waters, commandos boarded the ship and arrested her.
The day after her release, she spoke to the press and called the raid a "pirate military operation". She was not wounded in the attack but nine fellow passengers were killed and over 10 people injured.
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In 2010, while she was addressing the parliament, Anastasia Michaeli, a fellow member of parliament, charged the podium and prevented her from speaking. Later, Zoabi was assigned security guards to protect her.
Shortly afterwards, the Interior Minister requested that the Attorney General strip her parliamentary immunity. He wanted Haneen to be stripped of her Israeli citizenship, saying she had committed treason against the country.
Although the responsible parliamentary committee voted 7-1 to strip Zoabi of her parliamentary immunity, the Speaker of the Parliament, Reuven Rivlin, bypassed the vote and submitted the issue to the entire parliament.
On July 13, 2010, the entire parliament voted 34-16 to strip Haneen of some of her parliamentary immunity.
In 2011, the Attorney General closed the investigation into her participation in the ‘Gaza flotilla’.
In August 2012, Israel's Foreign Ministry had to change their rules after a number of official personnel had used social media to release damaging and inflammatory statements against Zoabi.
In December 2012, the Central Elections Committee as well as a select panel of judges from the Supreme Court met to decide whether or not to disqualify Zoabi, as well as her Balad Party, from the upcoming 2013 elections. In a 19-9 vote, the committee decided to disqualify her.
Shortly afterwards, the case was taken to the Israeli Supreme Court. In a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court voted to overturn to ban.
In February 2013, a member of parliament submitted legislation entitled the 'Zoabi Law', designed specifically to block the Supreme Court from interfering with decisions made by the Central Elections Committee. After an intense debate, the legislation did not garner enough votes to become law.
On July 10, 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped by Palestinians. She made national headlines when she stated that the kidnappers were not terrorists.
On July 25, 2014, the Attorney General opened a new investigation into Zoabi, exploring charges of incitement and 'public disgrace'. Four days later, she was suspended from the parliament for a period of six months. Her appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the suspension was rejected.
In February 2015, the High Court of Justice overturned the decision to disqualify Zoabi from being eligible to run for office in the March 2015 elections.
Zoabi continues to face a lot of flak from the Jewish community as she represents the Arab minority in Israel in the national parliament.