Arraba is associated with the Jewish village Arav, mentioned in the Mishnah and the Jerusalem Talmud in the sixteenth chapter of Tractate Shabbat. About one thousand years later, Arrabah is mentioned by Yaqut al-Hamawi in his famous work Mu'jam al-Buldān (1224-1228). Throughout history Arraba was mostly an agricultural village depending mainly on the al-Batuf Plain to grow crops. However currently the dependence on agriculture is declining rapidly due to the rise in population, urbanization and a subsequently more modern lifestyle.
Arraba was home to Dhaher el-Omar, who according to stories came to the town seeking refuge after killing a Turkish soldier. And there he managed to acquire the support of Muhammad Nasser, the local sheikh, by helping him settle a score with a neighboring village, an event that would initiate a series of campaigns leading him to capture the whole Galilee. His house can still be found in the town. Arraba attained local council status in 1965 and was home to the first Land Day demonstrations in 1976. Together with Sakhnin and Deir Hanna it forms what is called the triangle of Land Day. Israel's reaction to control the protest was forceful and six people were killed by Israeli police. One of the dead, Kheir Yassin was killed in Arraba.
The symbol of the local council is an onion, a watermelon and a cantaloupe which symbolize the crops for which Arraba is famous.