Answer: Of course, what’s the difference? Rabbi Akiva came to the land of Israel a thousand years later than the people Abraham led out of Babylon. Abraham was called “Abraham Ivri” (“Ever” stems from the Hebrew word “Laavor” – to cross) because he was the first person of the Babylonian generation who transcended the Machsom, the barrier between our world and the spiritual world, and became a Hebrew, a Jew. But the very first Jew, i.e., a person who attained the spiritual world, was Adam.
None of us was born into the spiritual world. We all belong either to the nations of the world or to the Hebrews/Jews, which means those who transcend the Machsom. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that a foreigner who has never been a Jew can become the spiritual teacher of the generation. There have been quite a few such people. By the way, in the past, the nation of Israel lived according to spiritual laws and many non-Jewish people came to Israel, studied, remained here, were incorporated in the spiritual society, and became Jewish. It is because the Jews are not a nation but a group that was established artificially on the basis of a common idea.
Many great scientists, like the ancient Greeks for example, came to study from the Jews. This is the reason that the basics of philosophy, which they later developed, were taken from the wisdom of Kabbalah. When they returned to their homeland they adapted this knowledge to the corporeal world, but the perspective, the view, that has nothing to do with our world is still at the basis of their teachings.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 5/13/15