Dozens of rabbis and Kabbalah mystics armed with ceremonial trumpets took to the skies over Israel on Monday to battle the swine flu virus, according to local media reports.

About 50 Jewish holy men chanted prayers and blew shofars (ritual rams' horns) in an aircraft circling over the country in the hope of stopping the spread of the virus, some of those involved in Monday's venture were quoted as saying.

"The aim of the flight was to stop the pandemic so people will stop dying from it," Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri was quoted as saying in the mass-circulation daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

"We are certain that, thanks to the prayer, the danger is already behind us," added Batzri.

Tuesday's newspaper report carried a photo showing bearded and black-clad Orthodox Jewish men standing on the steps of an aircraft of short-haul airline Arkia.

The Health Ministry has confirmed more than 2,000 cases of swine flu, with five fatalities.