Knesset Member Avraham Ravitz of the United Torah Judaism (UTJ)
party announced Thursday that he was quitting politics after 20 years.
However, the 74-year-old lawmaker will continue to serve as chairman of the UTJ's Degel Hatorah faction, which represents the "Lithuanian wing" of the non-Hasidic ultra-Orthodox community.
Ravitz's son, Yisrael Meir told Ynet that his father was "considering the possibility of leaving the political arena for a while, and then made his final decision after realizing that his (political career) was nearing its end."
Ravitz arrived at the homes of prominent rabbis Yosef Sholom Elyashiv and Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman late Thursday to inform them of his decision. They both gave him their blessing.
Ravitz's resignation is expected to rattle the religious political arena, and Degel Hatorah in particular. The haredi political scene is in the midst of a crisis, which culminated in the recent Jerusalem mayoral elections when
the capital's ultra-Orthodox community did not vote in unison for the religious candidate, Rabbi Meir Porush.
Ravitz told Ynet two weeks ago that he was not ruling out a split in UTJ, which is comprised of the Degel Hatorah and and Agudat Yisrael factions, due to the rift within the haredi community.
According to Ravitz's son, the current political crisis "almost dissuaded" his father from resigning.
"He didn’t want to further agitate (the haredi political arena)," Meir said.
Ravitz served in a number of key positions throughout his political career, including deputy housing and construction minister, deputy education minister and chairman of the Knesset's Finance Committee.
the MK, a resident of Jerusalem, is married with 12 children. He served in "Lehi" (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel), an armed underground Zionist faction that operated during the British mandate, and later completed his military service in the IDF.