The global community should commit to root out religious prejudice from education systems around the world, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Tuesday in an address to the European Jewish Congress.

“This is the business of all countries, and we are entitled to demand that countries that want to be our allies make sure that their young people are educated to a view of a world that is tolerant, and that allows people to reconcile across the boundaries of faith and culture,” he said.

Blair also said that he sees an opportunity, for the first time ever, “to form an alliance” with Arab states, and even between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

“You go to the capitals of the Middle East region, and you’ll find the same analysis of the threats and the same desire to overcome them,” he said, adding, “During this long process of transition in the Middle East, there is a genuine possibility of changing the way that people think.”

Reaching a situation where Israel is recognized in the region “is the biggest challenge of the first part of the 21st century,” said Blair, adding that the Jewish communities in Europe could assist in reaching such alliances because of their open minds and attitudes.

“It is that spirit, which in the end is the spirit of optimism and hope, that should guide us into the future,” he added.