An Arlington Circuit Court judge ruled yesterday that the body of a Jewish-born, anti-Zionist activist, kept in a morgue for 11 days while Jews, Christians and Moslems debated its fate, should be buried in a Christian cemetery.

Judge Benjamin N.A. Kendrick said that there was "clear and convincing evidence" that Haviv Schieber, who died New Year's Eve at age 74, "embraced Christianity." At the same time, Kendrick rejected the religious-based argument made by the attorney for a Rockville rabbi seeking to bury the body in a Jewish cemetery that "once a Jew, always a Jew."

"This is exactly what Haviv would have wanted done," said the Rev. Dale P. Crowley, a self-described right-wing Baptist minister in Arlington, who had filed suit asking the court to give him the right to bury the body in a Christian ceremony.

Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan, who presented in court the position of Schieber's Israeli son, criticized Kendrick for allowing hearsay testimony from witnesses claiming to know what Schieber believed about religion and for not respecting the next-of-kin's wishes that Schieber receive a Jewish burial.

"Being a Jew is a religious belief. It has no place in civil law," Kaplan said. " . . . It's almost absurd to have the court decide whether someone is or is not a Jew."

According to his associates, Schieber was born in Poland, fought to establish the State of Israel and in 1959 moved to the United States, where he took up anti-Zionist political activities and set up the Holy Land State Committee dedicated to the idea that Jews, Christians and Moslems should hold equal power in Israel.

For the last two years, Schieber lived with, and was political allies with, Crowley, according to testimony. Schieber regularly attended Baptist services at two area churches, according to testimony.

After Schieber died, Crowley arranged for his body to be buried in a Christian ceremony. But a Jewish friend of Schieber's, Charles Fischbein from Winchester, Va., said Schieber should have a Jewish burial. Caught in the middle, the funeral home passed the body to the Arlington Hospital morgue.

Last week Crowley filed suit seeking burial in a Christian cemetery. Kaplan, of the Chabad House in Rockville, opposed the move in court. In an affidavit sent through the Israeli Embassy, Schieber's son, Daniel Reveh of Tel Aviv, said he wished his father to receive a Jewish burial.

According to court testimony, however, Reveh may not have known his father became a Christian. The two had not seen each other in at least 26 years, and Reveh, who could not be reached for comment, had refused to come to a dinner in his father's honor last year.

Much of the discussion in court centered on the question of whether Schieber believed he was a Jew, and in what sense. Most of the witnesses, including author and lawyer Mark Lane from the District, were led by attorneys into a historical and philosophical debate on Zionism, Judiasm and Schieber's beliefs about his own religion.

At times, those debates degenerated into angry clashes of opinion. In one such case, Lane told the court he had first asked Schieber about his religious beliefs after Schieber had served him bacon and eggs for breakfast one morning. Many Jews do not eat pork, citing religious teachings. In cross-examination, Kaplan's attorney, Donald Chaikin, questioned Lane about this. Lane replied that some practicing Jews do eat pork.

"If you know anything about Judaism, {you know} that eggs may not mix with bacon," Chaikin said.

Most witnesses, both Christians and Jews, said Schieber told them he was both a Jew and a Christian. Crowley's attorney, Richard C. Shadyac, argued that, ethnically, Schieber was Jewish, but that "in a religious sense, he said over and over again, 'I am with Jesus Christ.' " Chaikin argued that under Jewish law, because Schieber was born a Jew, he would always be considered a Jew. Chaikin did not distinguish between ethnicity and religion.

"Jewish law has about as much standing in this court as Chinese law," Kendrick said.