Jewish history began about 4,000 years ago (c. 17th century BCE) with the patriarchs - Abraham, his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. Documents unearthed in Mesopotamia, dating back to 2000- 1500 BCE, corroborate aspects of their nomadic way of life as described in the Bible.
The Book of Genesis relates how Abraham was summoned from Ur of the Chaldeans to Canaan to bring about the formation of a people with belief in the One God. When a famine spread through Canaan, Jacob (Israel), his twelve sons and their families settled in Egypt, where their descendants were reduced to slavery and pressed into forced labor.
(Source- Archive of Foreign Ministry)